By Lizzy Williamson, author of Two-Minute Moves, gives us 4 simple and practical moves that you can do anywhere, anytime, to improve your health and fitness.
Your workplace can be a major inhibitor to getting moving. Five million of Australia’s 7.7 million full-time workers put in more than 40 hours of work per week. Not only do a huge number of us feel we don’t have time for physical activity outside of work, many of us are barely moving during our work hours too.
Sitting still is making us tired. It might sound counterintuitive, but feeling alert and awake is tied to moving around. When you sit still for a long period of time, your bodily functions slow down until you enter something a little like a sleep mode. It’s normal to feel tired when you finally stand up, because your body has to switch modes and start providing you with the energy to move again.
No surprise, then, that we reach for the 3pm coffee and sugar to keep us going and then get to the end of the day feeling exhausted. Instead of having the energy to work out, we collapse on the couch to binge-watch our favourite Netflix show.
Many things can go wrong in our bodies when we sit for hours and hours: weak core, tight hip flexors and hamstrings, soft glutes, strained neck and an inflexible, unsupported spine. We are more susceptible to weight gain as our metabolism slows. Not only are our muscles slacking off when we sit, but our heart also doesn’t have to work as hard, which allows fatty acid to build up and clog our arteries.
But how do we make exercise happen in our jam-packed work day? Isn’t the best strategy to buckle down and work, work, work so you have time to exercise later? If you want your brain to function at its best, you need to keep refilling its tank throughout your day. Along with brain-boosting food, the best fuel comes from movement – and two minutes is all you need to have your body, brain and even your loved ones thanking you. There’s some evidence that regularly standing and walking during the day, even for short amounts of time, can drastically increase your lifespan.
Do this stand up workout at your desk or if you feel self conscious, find a private spot to do them. Even the bathroom can be an option! Better still, encourage your colleagues to join you in getting up and moving. It’s a great way to bring more wellbeing in to your workplace. For more ideas visit twominutemoves.com/work.
These moves are a great chance to check in with your posture, so ensure your shoulders aren’t slouching forward. Standing with your feet hip-width apart, gently pull in your tummy to engage your core.
- As you breathe in, raise both heels off the floor at the same time. Raise your arms to the ceiling as you rise up.
- Then lower your heels and arms. Take about one second to get up and down so you work at a pace that gets your heart pumping.
Stand nice and straight with your shoulders gently pulling back.
- Step into your right foot, twisting your body around to the right, lifting your left hand by your left shoulder.
- As you continue to twist around to your right, breathe out and extend that arm out to the right at shoulder height, as if you’re pushing something away from you with your hand. Repeat to the left.
If you can’t get away from your workspace for a walk then this is the perfect way to get a little endorphin rush to help you feel good about your tasks ahead.
- Work through your feet as you walk, taking the ball of your foot to the floor first and then your heel.
- As you walk, give your arms a big swing like you see the Olympic walkers doing to loosen up tight, hunched shoulders.
4. Roll down-and-up to the count of 10
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms loose by your side.
- Drop your chin to your chest and take your time rolling down as you breathe slowly so that your arms hang loosely down towards your toes (it doesn’t matter if you can’t touch them). Take a couple of deep breaths here, feeling gravity take hold of your head, neck and shoulders. Go for a few gentle nods and a few gentle head-shakes to loosen up your neck.
- Breathe in and feel your tummy draw in as you begin to ever-so-slowly roll up.
‘Just start with two minutes of exercise,’ I told myself. ‘You can do two minutes.’
These were the powerful words Lizzy told herself which eventually became the life-changing tool to overcome her post natal depression.
Sharing her compelling personal story of hitting ‘rock bottom’ and overcoming depression through the joy of movement, Two-Minute Moves offers a holistic and wholehearted guide to a balanced life. Lizzy educates and empowers readers with her signature moves, useful tips and simple (yet delicious and nutritious!) recipes, pouring her heart onto each page of her book, encouraging readers to stop stretching themselves too thin and truly take care of themselves.
Featuring over 80 simple exercises presented as two-minute bursts of movement, that fit seamlessly into anyone’s daily routine and 20 foolproof recipes, perfect for when you’re on-the-go or juggling too many commitments. Lizzy also shares mindfulness techniques, meditation and mantras, to arm readers with the tools required to help them transform every aspect of their lives for the better.
Get your copy of Two-Minute Moves from Lizzy’s website. RRP $29.95.