Restart Your Workout

January 1st has come and gone, but every day, week, month is a fresh start to examine or re-examine those goals and get moving.  Here are four full-body moves that are equipment free, and can happen in minimal-space wherever you are.

Consider grouping the found moves together for a 4-minute circuit and sneak it in as many times as possible during the day.

Check out as I shared on CH Morning Live on Tuesday January 16th. Watch the segment here.

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1. Four Step Squat: Start in a narrow squat with feet under your hips. Sit back into a squat position with knees above the ankles, and your body weight on your heels. Return to standing and step your feet just wider then hip distance apart and repeat the squat. Return to stand and repeat to more times, each time steeping your feet out wider until you are in a wide plie squat. Return to standing and repeat all four on the other side.

2. Plank Walk Out: Start standing with the feet shoulder width apart and arms hanging down to the sides of the body. Slightly bend the knees and bend over and placing the hands shoulder width apart on the floor, so your body is in the shape of an inverted V. Walk forward four steps forward with your hands until you reach a plank position. Walk hands back in towards your feet and return to stand.

3. Alternating Shoulder Tap and Hinge: On the knees or toes, maintain a balance and stable hip position while touching the opposite hand to shoulder. Next hinge at the waist reaching your right hand towards your left ankle, return to plank, then hinge reaching your left hand towards your right ankle. Alternate touching shoulder, shoulder, ankle, ankle. To decrease the challenge, increase the distance between the knees widening your base of support.

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4. Marching Hip Raise: Lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Lift one knee to your chest, lower back to the start, and lift your other knee to your chest. Continue to alternate back and forth and to make it harder, lift those hands up and decrease your base of support.

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5 Ways to Use Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards in the Workplace

yoga cardsOctober marks Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, a web-based initiative that aims to “build awareness of the importance of workplace health for the short and long-term success of organizations and for the well-being of their employees.”1 In order to help you and your team move more during the workday, we’re sharing 5 ways you and your colleagues can move  and stretch using a few of your favourite Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards.

When selecting cards to use in the different activities, be sure to keep in mind the ability and safety of all participants. Remind participants that they are free to modify stretches and poses, as needed.

 

1. Stretching Scramble. Select 8-10 of your favourite cards from Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards and place them face down in a common area of your meeting space. Set an alarm (e.g., phone or computer alarm or timer) for 3-5 intervals depending on the length of your meeting. Once the alarm sounds one person selects a card and leads the team in a stretch for 30-45 seconds. Once complete, cards can either be returned face down or be held onto by the stretch leader. Each alarm gives an opportunity for a new stretch leader.

2. PowerPoint Power Up. Display 6-8 of your favourite cards from Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards at the front of your meeting space. When presenting to your colleagues using PowerPoint (or a similar program) place a yoga themed image in the bottom right corner of every 5-6 slides. When this image appears, meeting participants select one of their favourite poses from those displayed at the front of the room. This can be structured where the entire meeting stops to stretch, or simply allow participants to take the lead and stretch for as long as they need.

3. Stretch and Seek.  Place 8-10 of your favourite cards from Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards in common, but hidden, areas of your workplace – think coffee cup cupboard, freezer, and photo copy room door. Encourage colleagues who come across the “hidden” cards to perform the stretch for 30-45 seconds while in the space. Consider changing the card locations daily.

4. My Stretch. Meeting participants select their favourite Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards and keep it at their meeting space face down. At random intervals, determined by the participants, one participant will lead their colleagues through their stretch holding it for 30-45 seconds. Consider displaying optional cards for those who might want to perform an alternate stretch.

5. Drop Everything and Stretch. Place 10-12 of your favourite cards, from Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards in a fun bag or decorated envelope, along with a staff list and pen. Participants perform a specified number of stretches from the bag before crossing off their name and passing the bag along to a colleague who hasn’t received it. Participants are encouraged to drop everything and stretch as soon as they receive the bag. Challenge staff to see how quickly they can make it through the entire staff list and challenge themselves to beat their combined time another day.


1Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month. (2017). About Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month®. Retrieved from: http://healthyworkplacemonth.ca/en/about/about

5 Moves to Help You Keep Fitness a Priority on Vacation

When it comes to reaching your fitness goals, consistency is key. So don’t let dashing through the terminal be your only workout while on vacation. Here are five full-body moves that are equipment free, and can happen in minimal-space or out on the beach to help you make it happen no matter where you are. Plus, squeezing in a quick workout or two during your vacation will make it easier to get back in the swing of things after you’ve unpacked your suitcases. Here are five moves I shared on CH Morning Live on Thursday April 4th. Watch the segment here.

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If you’re a beginner, do 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds rest per move. Intermediate: 40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest Advanced: 50 seconds work, 10 seconds rest.

1. Traveling Lunge: Standing with feet hip distance apart, step forward in to a standing split position and slowly lower your body until your front knee is bent to at least 90 degrees. Pause and then return to standing. Using the same leg, step backwards with the right leg and slowly lower your body until your front knee is bent to at least 90 degrees. Pause and then return to standing. Those two movements are one set, continue for a designated amount of time (see above) then repeat on the other side.

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2. Plank Walk Out: Start standing with the feet shoulder width apart and arms hanging down to the sides of the body. Slightly bend the knees and bend over and placing the hands shoulder width apart on the floor, so your body is in the shape of an inverted V. Walk forward four steps forward with your hands until you reach a plank position. Walk hands back in towards your feet and return to stand.

3. Marching Hip Raise: Lie face-up on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Lift one knee to your chest, lower back to the start, and lift your other knee to your chest. Continue to alternate back and forth and to make it harder, lift those hands up and decrease your base of support.

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4. Plank Jacks: From a high plank on your toes, jump both feet out and in while keeping your shoulders stacked about your hips and core stable. To decrease the challenge, perform a step touch with each foot reaching it out to the left and back center before repeating with the right.

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5. Push-ups: Get into a high plank position with hands on the bench or stair directly under shoulders. Begin to lower your body until your chest grazes the bench/stair. Keep your back flat and eyes focused about three feet in front of you to keep a neutral neck. Push back up.

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Others ways to sneak physical activity in while on vacation:

  • Explore your destination by foot either walking or hiking around.
  • Hit up your hotel gym and hop on the treadmill or lift some weights before you start your day.
  • Take a drop-on class at a local studio. Not sure where to go? Ask around your hotel or at an active wear store.
  • Bring compact workout gear in your luggage. Consider a skipping rope, resistance band, or folding yoga mat.
  • Partake in local sports. Whether it’s surfing or SUP, who can resit getting active in a stunning beach destination? If you’re not comfortable on the water, take a class, and enjoy this full body workout.

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So whether you’re on the road for work, fun, or visiting family, there’s no need to take a vacation from your workout too!

What’s your favourite way to workout on vacation? Share it in the comments!