Twist and sprout!
Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on staying fit and healthy, with the occasional treat…
I hope you’re all having a great summer! Now that it’s August there are plenty of outdoor concerts and summer events to keep us busy, and as I celebrated my 57th birthday recently, it’s put me in the party mood, so let’s get in the spirit and as the song goes ‘let’s twist again, like we did last summer!’ They were definitely onto something, as twisting motions stimulate circulation and fresh blood flow around the body (helping detoxification), as well as working our flexibility, making them a great way of releasing tension and stress-related back pain.
Twists are great for creating movement in and around our digestive organs as they push food along, improving blood flow to the digestive system and, with this month’s sprouted mung bean dish, it will give you the full benefit of an all-round healthier core. To make this workout as fun as possible, try it outside with your favourite music on!
Thread the Needle
This stretch is great for improving spinal flexibility, as well as loosening tension in your shoulders. Start on all fours with your back straight and left arm out at the side. Supporting your weight with your right hand, reach your left arm under and across your chest, turning your head and upper body at the same time. Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then reverse the movement to the start position. Aim for 8-10 repetitions, and when complete, switch to the other side and repeat.
This one is great for strengthening your abs and back, as well as improving and maintaining your hip mobility. Lie flat on your back, with your knees raised and feet on the floor, whilst keeping your arms outstretched on each side; this keeps you stable. Move your knees to the left and right, keeping your knees and feet together, whilst keeping your upper back nice and flat on the floor.
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, turn your right foot outwards into an L shape and then put your weight onto your left foot facing forward. Place your palms on the inside of your thigh, forming your starting position. Now lower your body, keeping both your legs straight, so your arms lower towards your feet. Extend your right arm upwards and try to touch your right foot with your left hand as you lower your body. Pause for a moment, then get back up to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Try to repeat this whole cycle 8-10 times.
Super Slow Bicycle Crunch
Lie on your back, with your pelvis in a neutral position, your hips raised and knees bent. Place your hands on your temples (it’s important you don’t cup your hands behind your neck, to avoid the temptation to put pressure on this delicate area). Engage your core and slowly bring your left elbow to your right knee, rotating your torso to the right and extending your left leg. Switch sides and then repeat the whole cycle 8-10 times.
Plank Hip Twist
Start this one face down with feet and elbows on the floor, so you’re in the plank position. Tighten your core while squeezing your bum muscles (glutes), remembering to keep your head, neck, spine and hips aligned. Avoid letting your hips drop. Now, twist your hips to the right and left without moving your upper body. Keep breathing and holding your core tight and glutes squeezed. Try and get 8-15 repetitions, keeping it nice and tightly controlled at a steady pace for full benefit.
After all that, it’s time for something nutritious and tasty!
Sautéed Sprouted Mung Beans
Sprouted mung beans (or moong) are easy to prepare; just soak them in water for a few days in a large jar, changing the water every 12 hours and watching them sprout until they reach the desired length. You can then store them in the fridge until ready for use. Due to high fibre content, they are filling and very healthy.
Mung beans have been known to have many benefits, including improving your eyesight, and enhancing bone and heart health. They contain protein, magnesium, zinc and potassium, and are rich in vitamin C and K, all of which many people buy in tablet form. They are great if you have high
Heat the oil in a pan, adding the cumin seeds and red onion, and fry for a few minutes on a medium heat until the onion is tender. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the water) and continue cooking for another couple of minutes before adding the sprouted beans and water. Simmer for 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Test and season accordingly. When ready, serve on a bed of rice or in a bowl on its own. A generous sprinkling of coriander will finish it off a treat!
Have a wonderful summer, and I’ll see you in October, when we’ll probably be ready to warm up a bit!
Ian Eassom is a Lincoln-based mobile personal trainer. Ian can offer private individual training sessions (one-to-one, couples or small groups) in your own home, garden or public space, or online, with bespoke exercise and diet plans to suit you. Don’t forget there’s a special offer for Lincolnshire Life readers! For the latest information, visit www.ianeassom.co.uk