Movement, not magic – Live!

We had a request through the Peer Support group, to show some ways to stretch and loosen up after we have been sitting at a desk for long periods of time. This is the live help we gave!

Give it a go and let us know how you get on! And if you have any requests...get in touch through the Peer Support group!

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What is a knee under with downward dog

What is a...

Name of exercise

Knee under with downward dog

What's it for?

Strengthens the core and also stretches the upper back/shoulders.

Top tips

  • Starting in a strong pressup position with your belly tight and bum tucked.
  • Draw one knee u p and under your body to touch the elbow/forearm of the opposite arm.
  • Return the foot to the floor then (keeping knees and elbows straight) push the bum high up and back, while keeping your hands firm on the floor.

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How you ruin your efforts by “pausing” your exercise and good eating for a week

Do you recognise this thing I was told the other day?

"I’m just going to put my diet and exercise on pause while we are in isolation… I’ll get right back on it after…"

I’ve heard variations of it so many times over the years and I wonder if there is a fundamental flaw in the thinking there…

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Morning mobility routine – Live!

We had a request through the Peer Support group, to show some nice ways to get the body moving in the morning. So here is a quick morning mobilisation routine! Do a few rounds of these in the morning and let us know if you feel any better!

Give it a go and let us know how you get on! And if you have any requests...get in touch through the Peer Support group!

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What is a hamstring march

What is a...

Name of exercise

Hamstring march

What's it for?

Strengthening hamstrings (backs of thighs).

Top tips

  • Lay on your back with your heels up on a solid platform such as a bed, chair, bench etc.
  • Keeping your belly braced tight, push the heels down to lift the bum up off the floor.
  • Lift one heel up off the platform and start "marching". Keeping the body solid and stable. Don't let your body roll or sag.
  • March quietly, avoid slamming your heels back into the surface.

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Home kettlebell workout

We had a request this morning (via our Peer Support group) for a kettlebell workout from Lizi. She has the kit but needed guidance on what to do with it...

So here is the Facebook live video where I quickly went over a basic Kettlebell routine. The main ways you can make this easier/harder is by:

  • Changing the weight of the kettlebell
  • Increasing/decreasing the reps
  • Increasing/decreasing the rest period

Give it a go and let us know how you get on! And if you have any requests...get in touch through the Peer Support group!

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Workout with us – Quick, no equipment workout

Workout with us

Workout With Us are a series of workout videos for you to follow and join in with. Using these, you can "build your own" workout by combining warmup, strength, cardio and cool downs, depending on your goals and lifestyle.

What it works...

Full body workout.

Who can do it?

By changing the pace, it is suitable for all.

How long?

Approx 10 minutes

OK then, let's do this...

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Why it is important to stay playful in full lockdown

Playing and having fun when we are facing this health, social and economic crisis may seem ridiculous. And yet this is a very real human necessity for us and one that can help us look after our mental health and wellbeing, particularly during this tough time.

Play and being playful is not just for children.

two older women playing a guessing game and laughing
We can all play and have fun

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

George Bernard Shaw

What is playful?

Playful is a way of describing behaviour when someone likes to have fun and doesn't take things too seriously.  We don’t have to play all the time, just as we don’t have to be serious all the time either.

We start off playing - a lot. Children learn through play about themselves, relationships and the world around them. Unfortunately often as we grow up we can forget to play at all. Sometimes in adolescence, playing may seem child-like so teens shy away from it. Yet playing is so good for all of us!

We have all heard the phrase:

‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’

There is a lot of research about the importance of play for children developmentally and for adults psychologically. We are not going into the specific details here, just to summarise that the evidence supports the fact playfulness helps us (as adults) develop our creative thinking, problem solving, openness to change and flexibility. Playing is fun and also helps us enjoy the moment more - we feel better. It has a real, positive impact on our wellbeing:

“Engaged play increases your happiness, aligns you with your deepest needs and is a huge predictor of your well-being.”

“Don’t Miss Your Life,” Joe Robinson 

Ironically, as adults, we tend to play less, especially when we are facing challenges and feel more stressed. Just when it could potentially help us more.

And given the current challenges and uncertainties we all face with the Covid-19 pandemic, our instinct is likely to take the serious stance.

Another significant barrier to adults playing is simply - we often don't want to look silly!

Man pressing his face against a window to make a silly squashed face
Be silly - and feel better

Recognising there is a time and a place for playfulness, how can we embrace this more to help each other through times of greater stress like this period of isolation?

How to increase our opportunities for play together

Staying connected when our social interactions are restricted is more important than ever. Focussing on relationships, well established and newer ones, is vital for our wellbeing. And, in the words of a wise man, we might need to enlist the help of Plan B to help!

So we need to get creative. There are some ideas as a starter below.

Talk to each other and engage in playful activities virtually:

  • Play games over the internet - cards, pictionary, charades, name that tune, quizzes. Take it in turns to host the event and prepare the games.
  • Virtual film night - complete with movie snacks. All coincide the start of the film and watch together staying connected via skype/ facetime etc
  • Virtual afternoon tea/ breakfast/ tea break - invite colleagues and friends to share their favourite biscuit or snack.

Be purposeful in building group connections - Eat, Move, Be Happy Peer Support group is an example of just that. This aim of our online community is to create a shared experience where we can support each other and keep momentum. This is also a great way of keeping in touch with lots of people and sharing information. 

Remember, groups and particularly virtual groups don’t replace talking and real conversations. We also need to keep talking.

Ideas for play in groups:

  • Photo challenge - set a theme and encourage people to share the photos they capture. Prizes or a scoreboard for the funniest or wackiest taken.
  • Fancy dress challenge - engage the group/ family in finding and making a fancy dress costume/ models from items around the house. You can set time limits - 10 minutes to a week!

Schedule playtime

No matter how little time, schedule time to daydream, reflect and consider new ways of doing things with a playful twist. This does require some positive thought and a desire to engage in playful thinking. Getting help from others if you find this more difficult would be a good place to start.

Learn from children - if you can spend some time observing how children play and join in! They are experts at it. Play balancing games, dancing games, hide and seek games, imagination games… embrace your inner silliness and feel the difference!

Play Games together

Some of the classics are the best. Remember Simon says, Hick Hack Hock, chocolate games - have I got your attention now?

chocolate, knife and fork, die, hat, gloves and scarf for the chocolate game
Eating chocolate with a knife and fork

There are loads of ideas on the internet if you cannot remember. You could introduce a new game every week - and these could all be played virtually connecting digitally with a bit of imagination.

And finally, a couple of no brainers for me:

Sing and dance - lots. It doesn’t matter how badly or how out of tune. You can do this on your own, though as with most things, it is better with someone else! And that can still happen virtually.

Be silly - lots. You may be surprised at how much brighter and better you feel when you have had a moment of pure silliness and laughed hard. 

Smile more and laugh when you can - laughing is a huge benefit psychologically and physiologically. If you are singing and dancing more our guess is you will also be laughing more! Enjoy!

So your homework...

Find three different ways to play this week. Mix it up a bit, on your own and with others. And let us know how you get on through the Peer Support Group. Some photos to accompany your updates would be great!

multi cultural dad and daughter wearing tutus dancing and smiling

Need further support…

If you are worried about your mental health please seek professional help and advice from your GP. If you cannot visit your GP and need urgent help visit A&E. 

Other sources of help include:

  • The Samaritans who offer a free, confidential 24 hour helpline.
  • Mind a Mental Health Charity offering information and support line.

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What is a drop squat

What is a...

Name of exercise

Drop squat

What's it for?

Strengthening legs.

Top tips

  • Start and end in an upright standing position.
  • Jump up slightly, widen your stance to approx shoulder width apart and land softly into a strong squat.
    • Sit the bum back and down.
    • Keep the feet and back flat.
  • Jump back up into a standing position with your feet approx hip width apart.

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Eat Better Habits – Get accountable

Accountablility

"We are better doing things when we are not alone"

Why being accountable helps.

Humans are social animals. As a rule, we tend to thrive in groups, do greater, more impressive things and have a higher rate of success when compared to individuals. If nothing else, difficult tasks are made easier with helping hands. So why should we make the difficult task of changing our eating habits any harder by doing it all alone?

Here are just some of the reasons why making ourselves accountable to others is helpful…

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