Workouts

12 Simple Hacks To Maintain Your Ideal Body Shape

So you’ve lost the weight... Now what?

I often discuss weight loss solutions on my blog, as this topic is always in demand. I provide tips, solutions and options on how best to achieve this. Weight loss is fantastic when it results in you looking and feeling great. However, the question we tend to overlook (”now what?”), is just as important as the weight-loss itself.

You’ve successfully lost the weight, you are looking and feeling fantastic, but how do you now maintain it? This is often the point at which people begin to gain the weight straight back. They feel as if the work has been done and now it’s time to relax back into old habits, only to find the weight creeping back on.

I am continuously telling my clients that weight loss is not just weight loss. Weight loss is a permanent lifestyle change. Remember these three words, say them out loud, and let them sink in, because if these three words are not implemented, then all that hard work goes straight down the drain.

Our inherent desire for quick results, coupled with the demands of our external modern-day environment, has ingrained in us unrealistic expectations in many areas of life - weight-loss included. It is always wonderful to achieve a goal, especially when it comes about quickly, but what happens to that goal when it comes into being?

Think of it like a business – say you have launched a business, and you have reached a point of great success – now what? Are you just going to stop working and let your business run itself? – never! You are going to put as much as you can into your business to have it grow further, so that you may reap even more success. The same goes for maintaining your body – it is constant work, and requires a major focus on your mental, physical and emotional health.

We need to change our perceptions about weight-loss to encompass more than just looking good. Reaching your desired body shape requires you to be healthy, and to maintain great health in order to maintain a great body. There are no short cuts or quick fix solutions. Only consistency and dedication to your health – every single day for the rest of your life.

So how do you maintain your body shape? Here are 12 great ways to keep yourself in check:

  1. Drink warm water and lemon every morning upon waking.
  2. Take a good quality probiotic to ensure proper digestion.
  3. Drink loads of water – at least 8 glasses per day.
  4. Load up on vegetables, and lean protein.
  5. Don’t fear healthy fats – these keep your blood sugar levels stable and make you feel satiated.
  6. When you eat, sit down, chew slowly and enjoy every bite. Make sure you are eating and only eating. Don’t pair eating with activities such as watching TV or playing on your phone. Let yourself be fully present and aware when you eat –you will be pleasantly surprised at the difference this makes to how you feel after a meal.
  7. When you feel a craving coming along – brush your teeth. The cool minty taste will prevent you from wanting to eat.
  8. Find ways to move more – walk your dogs, go for a stroll in the park, find a sport you enjoy or create a hiking club. Making exercise social will help you enjoy it more.
  9. Stick to small dinners and bigger lunches.
  10. Try to get some protein in at every meal.
  11. Avoid carbs from grains at night. Stick to vegetables and proteins instead.
  12. Above all, don’t obsess about your weight! Give your body love, show it appreciation, and I can guarantee it will love you straight back!

Yoga For Complete Beginners - 20 Minute Home Yoga Workout!

Yoga for Complete Beginners! Adriene welcomes all levels - complete and total beginners to start here! Hop on the mat and start to build the foundation of your own yoga practice with this 20 minute home workout video! Enjoy, stay mindful and find what feels good.

5 Health & Fitness Trends for South Africa in 2016

The health and fitness industry goes through phases & trends. One minute a certain diet or workout is hip, and the next minute it’s something completely different. Sometimes it's hard to stay up-to-date with what’s happening and what’s hot, here are five health and fitness trends for 2016.

 

1. HIIT vs Split Routines

HIIT (high intensity interval training) has been around for a long time but died down when the “competing frenzy” hit South Africa and everyone thought in order to get results, splitting ones routine into cardio & weight lifting was the way to go. This mentality got carried over from the “competing preparation” to how programs were structured for everyday individuals wanting to get into great shape.

For most people nowadays, it has become very obvious that unless you are training to compete on stage or for a specific sport, no one has the time, energy, patience and boredom level to maintain 2 sessions a day, along with the all the other elements of one's life. We are back where we started, wanting great results while using the small amount of time we have available in the most efficient and effective way we can, hence HIIT.

It’s all about mixing it up, fusing different styles and techniques, and working at a higher intensity over a shorter period of time. As important as isolation work is, so is dynamic and functional exercise. When one combines all these elements with bursts of cardio activities, you have an effective workout that targets a wide spectrum of fitness to include balance, mobility, flexibility, agility & endurance.

 

2. Outdoor/Home Training vs Gym Training

More and more activities like Parkour, street workouts, trail runs, home (backyard) workouts, and even surfing are back on the radar! This is probably due to the fact that they are done in the beautiful outdoors (which South Africa has) while enjoying amazing weather (which South Africa also has, especially this time of year). It is much more stimulating for the brain, due to the fresh air and open surroundings, and it is a huge time saver!

As effective as gyms are, especially when safety and weather is an issue, people no longer want to waste time driving in traffic, wait for parking, stand in a queue to get one's card swiped, and you haven’t even started your workout yet! Getting to the gym floor is whole other story and the queues just continue there. An hour workout turns into a 2hour frustration so one can understand why people are choosing to put on their trainers and run to the park for some pull ups and push ups in a fraction of the time.

There are also so many amazing programs out there that are functional and HIIT based and designed to be done either at home or outside. This results in an effective and efficient workout, gaining great results on all levels, and all while not wasting precious time (trend #1). I personally will always love the gym, because that is where my passion for fitness started, but I definitely enjoy the outdoor/home based workouts more and find them much more effective in terms of time and results.

 

3. Balanced Approach vs Extreme Behaviour

No one is denying that extreme diets produce results more quickly, and the results produced are more radical than that of a balanced approach. However, time and time (....and time) again it is proven that with an extreme approach there are extreme consequences (see trend #4 for more information).

For years now, people have started to change the word “diet” to "lifestyle", highlighting their acknowledgement that a “diet” should be a permanent way of living. But extreme behaviour is never a permanent solution. It can never be maintained, has long term side effects, has a failure rate double to that of the success rate, and the extreme results normally revert to a state of health that is much worse than what the individual started with. Although the “balanced approached” has been over used in the past, it is definitely holding more value, truth, and substance when being referred to now.

 

4. Eating/Training For Health vs Eating/Training For Weight-Loss

Many people go on a “diet” or training regimen with the primary focus being weight loss. Unfortunately, this is often done without giving much thought to the potential consequences extreme dieting and/or training can have on one's current and future health. Eating for weight loss has always been an enticing factor and still gets used in the marketing and selling of products and programs.

People are slowly realizing that as important as weight loss is for some circumstances (for example, obesity), it doesn’t really matter what the scale says if your cholesterol is still reading a 220mg/dL and your blood pressure is sitting at 180/120. The importance of numbers is shifting from the scale to health readings. We are becoming more aware of our blood pressure, heart rate, sugar levels, and cholesterol. These are the numbers that need to drop and as a consequence, the weight will drop as well.

A number that is also getting attention, is metabolic age! Basically, we want our bodies to be younger than our actual age. This can only be achieved through optimum well-being, which does not involve extreme behaviour of any kind. For example, too little exercise is bad for you, just as too much exercise can give premature aging. Too much fat is bad for you, just as too little fat can bring about premature aging. Bottom line, we come back to trend #2 above, which is a balanced approach. There is no point in being a size 2, with zero body fat, and having the face of a fifty year old when you are barely in your mid thirties. Eating and training for health is a key trend for 2016 as people start to consider how they will look and feel in terms of age and not just size.

 

5. Going Green vs Going Red

This is a Health & Fitness Trend for 2016 that I feel the most strongly about, and it is a trend that has grown the most momentum over the past year. Think of “Meatless Mondays” or “Green Mondays” which has most people becoming more aware of what they are eating and why. The facts are staggering how beneficial a plant-based diet is versus a meat-heavy diet. Although the intention is not to turn the world vegan, it is about making people conscious of what they are really putting into their mouths and the effects it has on their body and environment.

Recently the WHO (World Health Organisation) concluded that excessive consumption of processed and red meat can result in cancer. This has validated the facts that green is better! Going green not only has a much smaller carbon foot print, it also has amazing effects on one’s health, it slows down the aging process, and it has proven results of steady, healthy and sustainable weight loss.

Going green also has an emotional drive behind it where people are showing more compassion towards animals, how they are bred and how they are treated before landing on our plates. No one can ignore the videos of animal abuse & slaughter houses circulating the internet nowadays. The thought of eating an animal that has been raised in disgusting environments and put through horrendous pain and suffering really has forced most people to stop and think before taking a bite out of that piece of flesh.

Going green has also shifted to how we train. We are becoming more conscious about using less motorized equipment in air-conditioned gyms, to rather training using our own body weight in a natural setting. Green is the new black!

Keeping Fit Outside The Gym

South Africa's sunny skies in the festive season are enough to make anyone crave the outdoors, with gym routines being forgotten as a result. The irony of it? Summer is when we strive to be in the best shape possible! If you want to keep fit while still enjoying the feel good factor of the holiday season, here are some activities to get you there.

Hit The Water

Our warm weather should already have you in the water, so make the most of it! Stand up paddle-boarding remains one of the most popular, family-friendly and physically demanding watersports of the moment, but you can get back to basics and enjoy skiing and tubing – while torching a lot of calories. Kayaking and paddle-boats are easier options if you’re going it alone or just with a partner. Another firm family favourite is a nearby waterpark.

Bounce It Out

As adults, jumping on trampolines is often a foreign and forgotten pleasure. The benefits are also endless, with rebounding improving everything from core strength, bone density and joint health to cellulite and skin tone! Join the kids and make the most of trampolines, whether at home or at your holiday destination. You can even pencil it in properly and try out the new bouncing facilities cropping up nationwide that are essentially wall-to-wall trampolines lined with foam.

Join A Community

It’s still scheduled exercise, but gathering at the beachfront or park for a communal run adds an element of festivity to your average 5km. Join one of the many free running or trail running clubs in your area (parkrun is guaranteed to be available in all big cities) and bring the whole family along. Keep an eye out for specific family events like colour runs and night cycles as well.

Make Your Home A Playground

Gardens and driveways provide the perfect space for badminton or volleyball nets. Set them up for your kids and their friends – and for you and yours as well! Having a fun and social activity at home will encourage your kids to get active and enjoy time with the family.

Hit The Roller Derby

A little more alternative, maybe, but definitely no less fun! This typically American female-dominated contact sport is finally trickling down into South Africa and will have you sweating out your calories in a big way. If you’re confident on rollerskates, you can sign up for weekly games at a small fee – and if the trend hasn’t hit your area yet, simply don your skates and hit the promenade instead!

Explore The Sea

Snorkeling and diving are one of the most pleasant ways to exert energy outdoors. Start light with some easy snorkeling, or take it to the next level and enjoy a scuba diving course. If that’s a bit intimidating, rent a seawalker and enjoy walking on the ocean floor! The resistance of the water will tone without you noticing.

Explore By Foot

Whether you’re in a new destination or home for the holidays, be a tourist and plan a walking tour. Pick a trail route, picnic site or a historical monument and plan a walking route around it.

Plan A DIY Holiday Project

This could be for you, or the family as a whole, but take on a fairly physical DIY project for the holidays. Maybe you want to build that veggie patch, make a small treehouse for the kids or use pallets for outside furniture. It could even be as simple as painting an outside wall a different colour for a fun upgrade. Get creative and physical at the same time and enjoy a tangible reward at the end of it.

Walk And Talk

Do you and your bestie love your weekly catch ups? Skip the wine and chocolate on the couch and meet up in a nearby park or communal garden instead. Map a route and enjoy a brisk walk while catching up as usual – a coffee at the end of it could serve as a reward when you’re done.

Hit The Gym – Outdoors

That’s right – all the benefits of a regular gym, cleverly structured for outdoor use! These amazing innovations may seem like a strange set of jungle gyms at first glance – but don’t be fooled. The outdoor gym equipment lets you train muscle groups with added resistance, and is both free and open 24/7! All our main cities are well-equipped with outdoor gyms, and these are but a few of them offered nationwide! Browse online for an outdoor gym in your area and enjoy a fully-equipped gym workout in the fresh air.

5 Steps To Tone The Tummy & Thighs

I like writing about topics that people need advice on, topics relating to health and fitness that they are really struggling with. So, what are the two areas people (specifically women) seem to struggle with most? The response is an overwhelming "tummy & thighs" (to be more specific, lower abs and top thighs including bum). Why do so many women struggle with these 2 areas? Well, women are designed differently to men. We are genetically designed to have wider hips and softer abdomens, but this structure can still have amazing tone & shape. Therefore if you understand the shape of your body and the factors that affect it, you can be better-equipped to optimize that shape.

Toxins

Cellulite, uneven/soft skin tone and stubborn areas are caused by a build up of toxins. Toxins come from a range of places, from the food you eat, to the air you breath, to the shampoo you use, and even to the washing powder that cleans your clothes. Many of these things are difficult to control but the one area you have the most control is food. Toxins accumulate over years and it takes real commitment to get the body clean. Commit to removing toxins from your system and you will slowly start seeing and feeling results.

Honesty

I often hear: “But I eat clean”, “But I train hard”, “But I don’t eat junk”. If you are mentally blocking out the odd glass of wine through the week, the cookies in between meetings, the handful of crisps while lying on the couch, the chocolate cake when meeting the girls for coffee, the blurry night of cocktails, or the Friday pizza because you felt you deserved it, you will always struggle with the tummy and thighs. The harsh reality is that some of us have to work harder than others and it is human nature to compare ourselves with the Supermodel on the latest cover of Vogue, but you have to accept what you have been given and make that work best for you. Once you have done that, get real with yourself, be honest. If you really are eating clean, training hard, & avoiding junk, your body and health will flourish.

What To Do:

Step 1 – clean out your fridge. If there is junk, you are going to eat it!

Step 2 – replace EVERYTHING you drink with water! You will loose 1-2 kilos in the first week by just doing that!

Step 3 – commit to a structured eating & training plan. In my many years of working in a gym, I have seen how on Monday everyone starts and by Wednesday they have given up. Most people waste their time texting, chatting, “recovering” or daydreaming because they don’t have structure.

Step 4 – Plan your week. This is actually the first thing I require from my program is that each and every person who starts, has to plan their week. Without structure you will fall off the wagon come

Step 5 – Too much cardio will kill your metabolism. You have to weight train, and no, I do not mean or encourage a “male weight training program”. I am talking about basic body weight training. Women flourish on body weight training because it keeps them lean, toned and elongated, boosts their metabolism, and builds muscle with no bulking. Cardio is essential but it really does not reshape the body. 20min a day 3x a week is more than enough, alternatively consider interval training.

BONUS STEP - Hold yourself accountable. No more “But I”. If you are starting your sentences with “But I”, get out of that habit. Place value on your health and where you want to be and take responsibility. By embracing that you are unique and accepting that your body will change at its own rate, will help you take responsibility and action towards your goals.

Dismantle The Barriers Holding Your Fitness Back

LITTLE STEPS: Set realistic goals and remember to pace yourself. Start small and build only when you are ready.

SUMMER is here and you really want to improve your shape. Somehow, you just can’t get going yet. If you don’t include physical activity in your daily routine, what’s stopping you? Consider common barriers to fitness — and practical strategies for keeping your exercise programme on track.

Sticking to a regular exercise schedule isn’t easy. After all, there are plenty of potential hindrances — time, boredom, injuries, self-confidence. But these issues don’t need to stand in your way. Consider practical strategies for overcoming common barriers to fitness.

I’m Self-Conscious About How I Look When I Exercise

Don’t beat yourself up about it. Remind yourself what a great favour you’re doing for your cardiovascular health, or focus on how much stronger you feel after a workout. Praise yourself for improving your stamina and making a commitment to lifelong fitness.

If you’re still uncomfortable exercising in the presence of others, go solo at first. Try an exercise video or an activity oriented video game. Consider investing in a stationary bicycle, treadmill, stair-climbing machine or other piece of home exercise equipment. As you become healthier and more at ease with exercising, your self-confidence is likely to improve as well.

I’m Too Tired To Exercise After Working All Day

No energy to exercise? Without exercise, you’ll have no energy. It’s a vicious cycle. But breaking the cycle with physical activity is one of the best gifts you can give yourself:

  • Try a morning dose of exercise. Remember the suggestion to get up 30 minutes earlier to exercise? Hop on the treadmill or stationary bicycle while you listen to the radio or watch the morning news. Or step outside for a brisk walk.
  • Make lunchtime count. Keep a pair of walking shoes at your desk, and take a walk during your lunch break.
  • Be prepared. Put workout clothes on top of your dresser, socks and all. Keep a full water bottle in the fridge. Have an exercise video queued up and ready to go when you get home at night.
  • Hit the hay earlier. Running on empty is no way to face a full day. Go to bed earlier to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

I’m Too Lazy To Exercise

If the mere thought of a morning jog makes you tired, try these thoughts on for size:

  • Set realistic expectations. If your mental bar is too high, you might give up without even trying. Start with a walk around the block. Don’t give up if you feel worn out. Take another walk around the block tomorrow. Keep it up, and eventually you’ll no longer feel worn out.
  • Work with your nature, not against it. Plan physical activity for times of the day when you tend to feel more energetic — or at least not quite so lazy.
  • Schedule exercise as you would schedule an important meeting or appointment. Block off times for physical activity, and make sure your friends and family are aware of your commitment. Ask for their and support.

I’m Not Athletic

Natural athletic ability isn’t a prerequisite for physical activity. Try something simple, such as a daily walk. Better yet, team up with friends who are in the same boat. Have fun while helping each other work out. Don’t worry about becoming a superstar athlete or joining the hard-bodied athletes at the gym. Simply focus on the positive changes you’re making to your body and mind.

I’ve Tried To Exercise In The Past And Failed

Don’t throw in the towel. You can’t see it when you lower your cholesterol or reduce your risk of diabetes, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t doing yourself a big favour. Re-evaluate what went wrong, and learn from your mistakes. Pace yourself. Start small and build to more intense workouts, when your body is ready. Some tips:

  • Set realistic goals. Don’t promise yourself you’re going to work out for an hour every day, and then beat yourself up when you fall short. Stick with goals you can more easily achieve, such as exercising 20 minutes a day, three days a week for the first month.
  • Remember why you’re exercising. Use your personal fitness goals as motivation — and reward yourself as you meet your goals.

I’m Afraid I’ll Hurt Myself If I Exercise

If you’re nervous about injuring yourself, start off on the right foot. Some tips:

  • Take it slow. Start with a simple walking programme. As you become more confident in your abilities, add activities to your routine.
  • Try an exercise class for beginners. Learn the basics by starting from scratch.
  • Consider working one-on-one with a personal trainer. Get a customised fitness tutorial from a certified expert, who can monitor you and point you in the right direction.

My Family And Friends Don’t Support My Efforts To Exercise Regularly

Remind those close to you of the benefits of regular exercise — and then bring them along. Some tips:

  • Get your kicks with your kids. Sign up for a parent-child exercise class. Pack a picnic lunch and take your family to the park for a game of tag or kickball. Splash with the kids in the pool instead of watching from your chair.
  • Propose a new adventure. Instead of suggesting a workout at the gym, invite a friend to an indoor climbing wall or rent a tandem bicycle for the weekend.
  • If necessary, have a heart-to- heart with your loved ones. If they don’t share your fitness ambitions, ask them to respect your will to get fit. 

8 Reasons Why You Should Try Pilates

Having practiced an assortment of dance styles for 17 years, I have been exposed to many forms of body conditioning in order to build up strength and improve my dance technique One of the most effective forms of body conditioning I have had the pleasure of practicing is Pilates. When you consider the source, it makes sense that Pilates would do all of this and more: Founder, Joseph H. Pilates was a frail little boy, who faced many physical challenges such as asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. Determined to conquer his ailments, he turned to the study of the ancient mind-body arts, through which he was able to integrate key principles from yoga and isometric resistance work. He came to know through his own experience that specific breathing techniques performed in tandem with targeted movements would dramatically improve his overall health, and would help him to sculpt a super-hero physique. Little did he know when he began that he would rise up to become the pioneer of a global fitness revolution, changing the lives of millions.

So why try Pilates? Here are a few good reasons:

Body-Mind synergy

The “powerhouse” in Pilates is the term that refers to the main focal area of strength which includes the primary abdominal, pelvic and back muscles. The idea of a “powerhouse” encompasses all aspects of what total fitness subsumes. The physical benefits that one can reap from practicing Pilates, like yoga, are tenfold. Pilates is a “vitality supercharger.” You engage the mind to move the body as an integrated whole concurrently with breath. Movement is economised by activating only those muscles that are required to perform an exercise with grace, control and precision. Freshly oxygenated blood is pumped throughout the entire body, galvanising the lymphatic system, which aids in the removal of toxins. Endorphin and serotonin production is stimulated in abundance which triggers a euphoric sense of total wellbeing. Pilates is unmatched in the arena of total body toning and conditioning. Pilates is a gentle but challenging, gravity-defying system of physical conditioning that focuses on body placement and increasing awareness of your capabilities and untapped resources. It changes your body and makes it longer, leaner and stronger. It empowers you as it helps you create the body you’ve always wanted

Rapid Results

Pilates is so effective, and so powerful, that when taught properly, it makes your entire body stronger and more flexible in no time at all. People report dropping inches in mere weeks. It helps your body to know what good posture feels like right away and quickly improves your breathing, which also enhances your mood and general outlook on life. Even after one class, you’ll look and feel taller, more energized, more capable and more alive.

Powerful Cross-Training Tool

Pilates is an incredibly effective cross-training activity. It makes any sport you love even better. Pilates not only strengthens the weaker muscles and gives the dominant muscles a break by demanding that you work symmetrically, it also makes you more aware of your body, thereby enhancing coordination, alignment, balance, power and precision. With age, the synovial fluid that protects our joints diminishes, and Pilates helps to keep the surrounding muscles strong to alleviate any burden on the joints. It aids with arthritic relief because the precise movements lubricate the joint capsule itself, and relieve inflammation. Aspiring dancers like myself have used Pilates as a secret weapon to strengthen our abdominals and our bodies, so that we can jump higher, turn faster and move with greater control and grace. My dance teachers incorporated various Pilate’s exercises into daily dance class to help me become the best dancer I could be. This kept me inspired, injury free and powerful!

Mindful Movement

“Economy of movement” is one of Pilates’ foundational principles, meaning that you learn how to focus your efforts with precision and engage only those muscles that are required to successfully perform the exercise. The rest of the body breathes and participates but does not strain. Because every movement in Pilates emanates from the core, it keeps you balanced by applying both sides of the body symmetrically in order to carry out each exercise successfully. Every exercise focuses on the core muscles of the torso, and includes specific breathing patterns for each exercise that teaches you how to channel energy to those targeted areas while relaxing the rest of the body.

Quality Over Quantity

Pilates requires a few number of repetitions with the greatest amount precision and control, which enables you to get the most out of your workout, while promoting your focus and determination. Rather than feeling drained and exhausted, Pilates energises and inspires you to make each movement count. The result? Greater overall muscular stamina and considerable skill, mindfully accomplished, with less effort.

Stress Less

Pilates triggers the magical chain of chemical responses in the body, chief among them the release of endorphins, which reduces stress and improves the quality of your sleep. The very nature of Pilates asks that you silence the mind by giving it single-focus tasks that engage it fully, and in so doing, creates freedom from the stresses we endure in the outside world. Every movement emanates from the core, and since our core is also the seat of our emotions, the exercises themselves help to truly balance us. When you focus your attention on the moment and act in harmony with time, you experience inner peace and fulfilment. By staying in the present, you can do less, yet gain more; paradoxically, you create more personal power and energy, enabling you to have a greater influence over the outcome both in your sessions and long after you leave the studio.

Personal Fulfilment

Pilates is similar to the practice of yoga, which promotes consciousness and facilitates personal evolution and transformation. The subtle magic of the work is that it grows as you do. Pilates provides a platform through which you are able to rise to higher levels of capability as your self-awareness and experience deepen. As you become more mindful of your movement, your actual physical strength increases, you are able to perfect form and shape. Pilates sees physical activity as a way of establishing total harmony of body, mind and spirit; under this notion, exercise becomes the means to experiencing a personal potential greater than the physical skills themselves. When you feel a sense of true accomplishment and fulfilment by virtue of your own efforts, you feel purposeful, hopeful and capable.

So take it from a dancer and give Pilates a try! It's so worth it!

Morning Yoga - Energising Morning Sequence

Practice this Energising Morning Yoga Sequence to get the juices flowing! This yoga practice stretches and strengthens the muscles with a strong focus on breath and body alignment. Practice this in the morning on an empty stomach and notice how it sets the tone for the day ahead. Get your workout in early, connect to your breath, be mindful and find what feels good.

Stressed, Unfocused, Frustrated? Time For Exercise

Do you ever have the feeling of complete frustration, that there is too much on your plate and you cannot focus properly?

You try and work but nothing really gets done.

I have had that feeling the last couple of days and let’s just say the amount of work I’ve done is a lot less than I would have liked.

I woke up this morning and the first thing I thought about is how much I need to get through. Then my mind starts racing and creates a massive snowball of thoughts leading to anxiety and definitely no chance of actually being able to get anything done.

In that haze of anxiety I remembered articles that I’ve read about this and how beneficial exercise is, and then also remembered how amazing I always feel after I go for a run. I decided that no matter how much needs doing, a bit of fresh air and exercise will be the most beneficial for me.

I donned my running gear and off I went. Funnily enough it ended up being a below average run because I had a big stitch the whole way round, and even after that I feel brilliant. There is something so peaceful about being outdoors, listening to kids playing, and observing life still continuing as always, no matter what is going on inside me.

The amount of work that I've managed to do in the last 2 hours is almost triple what I’ve been able to achieve leading up to this.

So what I’m saying is, when you have that overwhelming feeling, take a breather, get away from your phone/computer and go stand outside for 5 minutes. Come back to your desk, make a list of your tasks and prioritise them.

If you can, go take a walk or run or gym session. Re-calibrate and make a pact with yourself to exercise for at least 15 minutes each day, no matter what kind of exercise it is or when it is.

You generally end up sleeping better and therefore focus better.

Give it a go, you will feel the benefits.

Strike A Yoga Pose: Asana

Asana: Upavistha Konasana (seated angle pose)

Yogini: Lesego, 6

Difficulty level: 3/5

How: Hold onto your big toes by making a circle with your thumb & first 2 fingers. Hold really tight. If you find this a little tricky, take the outsides of your feet. Start pulling hard on your toes/feet & begin lift your feet off the floor. Work towards straightening the legs. Push your heart towards the sky & look up. Balance here & breath for 5 counts.

Sarah’s tip: This pose can lead to a little frustration. Concentrate on balancing the amount you pull your toes & the amount you push your legs straight. Make a strong shape with your body. Keep looking up.

Benefits: We create long & flexible legs & spines with this pose. We build deep core strength through balancing. Keeps our minds focused & strong.

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