Exercises for the reluctant keep-fitter

If you have been working all day, then possibly the last thing on your mind is doing anything more physical other drinking a cup of tea. But it is still quite possible to tone and trim muscles even when sitting on the sofa.

Head

Look directly in front and extend the back of the neck up and towards the ceiling whilst easing the shoulders down, keeping your jaw parallel with the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat the other side.

Shoulders

Ease both shoulders forwards and upwards, then back and down. The secret is to move through each new direction in one continuous circle, say it out loud: forward, upwards, backwards, downwards, making the circle as large as you are able.

Waist

1. Sit upright on a chair or stool with legs and feet hip width apart, knees directly over the ankles.

2. Put your arms at chest level, bent at the elbows with forearms resting on one another.

3. Twisting from the middle, slowly turn your head shoulders and arms around to the left as far as possible, keeping your shoulders down throughout this move.

4. Return to the starting position and repeat the other side.

Energetic exercising

Exercise that makes you sweat a little is perfect for the battle of losing weight and is known as ‘aerobic’ exercise, covering any activity that you can do for long periods of time. Your own personal level of fitness will partly determine the type of exercise you take part in, but it is important not to push yourself. Go at your own pace and increase your workout gradually. If you feel ill, dizzy, faint or in any way poorly, you must stop any exercise and check with your GP before taking it up again.

The main aim is to work out for 20-40 minutes each time, building up gradually, as you become fitter. Alternatively, break your sessions up into 10-minute routine. The long-term effect of exercise is that you will build up the amount of muscle in your body and decrease the amount of fat. The more muscle you have, the more food you are able to eat without gaining weight.

Fact

Every 450g (1lb) of muscle in your body burns off 35 calories a day.

Aerobic activities cover a wide range :

• Badminton

• Dancing

• Kickboxing

• Power walking

• Rowing

• Skipping

• Swimming

• Tennis

• Water aerobics