Healthy Lifestyle Series: The Body Care Blog

Working from home getting you cranky? Discover exercise and breathing routines that will best benefit you, as we all strive to stay fit indoors.

It’s January. Despite all your best intentions to get fit this New Year, you’ve been locked in again. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, we all have. And now’s the time to motivate each-other through the frustration and foiled plans that come with the new lock down. We hear you. Cabin fever and social isolation doesn’t help anyone’s mood. But it’s likely you’re not getting enough of the right exercise either.

Be honest, how many hours a day do you give to your own wellbeing? There’s that one hour you can spend exercising outdoors, which often turns into a grocery run, but don’t limit your me-time to that! In these days of being cooped up, you need to put more effort into self-care. And here are some excellent ways to do just that.

Breathe for Best Benefit

Not breathing right will affect your blood oxygen levels. Which will, in turn, affect your entire body because high blood oxygenation is what ensures your muscles, brain and all other organs receive the energy they need to function. A good way to ensure you’re getting enough oxygen are breathing exercises/techniques. Most breathing techniques have calming affects. They can help beat anxiety and even improve your sleep. Here are some to try at home:

Diaphragmatic Breathing

  1. Sit up straight with one hand on your tummy and one on your chest
  2. Inhale deep and slow through your nostrils, into your hands, so that you can feel your stomach expanding with each full breath
  3. Exhale slowly out of your mouth
  4. Repeat up to six times (or more) each minute for 15 minutes

4-7-8 Breathing

  1. Breathe out fully through your mouth, with a ‘woosh’ sound
  2. Now close your mouth and inhale through your nose while counting to four
  3. Hold this breath while counting to seven
  4. Repeat the ‘woosh’ sound as you exhale through your mouth while counting to eight
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 five times

Whim Hof Breathing

When someone says ‘breathing exercises,’ we think The Ice Man. And if you haven’t heard of Whim Hof, then where on earth have you been?! The Whim Hof Method (WHM) is a combination of breathing exercises, meditation and exposure to cold, that has been proven to regulate stress levels and boost health. This Dutch Extreme athlete’s methods might be too extreme for some. But we would recommend trying out the Guided Whim Hof Method Breathing to every healthy person (not suffering from a serious illness). You may find there is much meaning in what looks like madness. Note: The WHM is not recommended for people with Epilepsy, High Blood Pressure and Heart Diseases. Click for the Guided Whim Hof Method Breathing Video

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Here’s another good breathing technique for relieving tension and anxiety. It even helps with headaches. Alternate Nostril Breathing is said to have profound benefits for your mind, body and nervous system. It is also known as Nadi Shodhana, which means ‘channel purification’ –and it basically does what it says on the tin. Try it Out with one of our favourite online Yoga teachers, Adriene, at her Youtube channel Yoga With Adriene. Click for Alternate Nostril Breathing Video

Ease and Relax

We all know too well the pain of working from home. It accumulates around your neck and shoulders, and even affects your arms and wrists. The culprits are your phone and your computer (and possibly the kitchen table, for want of a proper work desk and office chair). That’s right, thanks to these fantastic gifts of humanity’s technological advances, we are all in danger of becoming hunchbacked golems with ‘text neck’ and carpel tunnel. Don’t let it happen to you! Now Yoga isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it does a world of good when it’s targeted to ease and relax those crampy areas that an ordinary workout might just end up aggravating. For this reason, our go to Yoga teacher online is Yoga with Adriene.

Quick fix
Don’t have enough time to work out today? Then just give yourself 10 minutes to ease the tension and cramping out of your neck and shoulders. Here’s a very affective 10-minute quickie practice from Yoga with Adriene. It is highly effective and specifically targets the Neck, Shoulders and Upper-back body. Click for the Yoga for Neck, Shoulder & Upper Back Video

Deeper relief
Need a more thorough exercise ‘coz you’re all stiff and achy? Yoga with Adriene has a 17-minute targeted practice specifically for Neck and Shoulder Relief. For optimum benefit, you can combine this with the 10-minute practice above. Click for the Neck & Shoulder Relief Video

Yoga for Text Neck
This yoga practice was a big request, which goes to show how common neck problems are becoming thanks to our phones. A 20-minte practice that engages your upper back body, you’ll come out feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Click for Yoga for Text Neck Video

Strengthen your Core

Your core muscles are wrapped around the abdominal area of your torso, from under your chest to your pelvic floor. They keep you propped upright and spare your spine from excessive load. This is why having a weak core leads to a poor posture. So if you’re slouching, and suffering from slumped, achy shoulders and perpetual back pain, then you need to work on strengthening your core. Admittedly it isn’t easy work at the start, but nothing that’s good for you ever is. And we guarantee you’ll find it life changing. Below are some tried and tested workout routines from online coaches.

Pilates for core
Developed specifically for improved postural alignment, core strengthening and muscle balance, Pilates has got to be the go-to exercise method for this purpose. We’ve got a highly effective 20-minute workout video with coach David Kingsbury, on the Healthista Youtube Channel. There will be moments where this will make you cry out, but there’s no gain without pain. You can do it! Click for Pilates for Strengthening Core

Ease into it
Pilates core workout too tough for you, because you’ve turned into a winging couch-potato? We know how you feel, and we’ve got just the solution. Start with a gentle workout that wakes up those core muscles, before you take on the really hard stuff. (Yes, you will still eventually have to take on the hard stuff!) We recommend the Core Power Wakeup from Yoga with Adriene. Click for Core Power Wakeup Video

We hope this blog was helpful, and pray you reap the best benefits from all the tips and resources provided. Encourage better health and wellbeing among your friends and family by sharing this blog with them as well. Here are some other online resources worthy of mention:

The Body Coach TV – Joe Wicks 2021 kickstarter 20-minute workout

Mr. Motivator -for people with less mobility

Sign Up for and IKCA Challenge

Desperate to get active outdoors again? So are we, and we’ve got a whole host of outdoors challenges waiting for you, as soon as the Lockdown is over.

IKCA’s most popular challenges are back in 2021. From Family Walks to mountain treks to an overseas adventure in Pakistan you’ll never forget –we’ve  charity challenges to suit people from all walks of life and fitness levels. Check out our Charity Challenges now and book your place on the ones you want to take part in.

Check out our 2021 Challenges now

Please note that IKCA is closely monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19 in the UK. As things stand, our 2021 challenges will be going ahead. However, if they are cancelled or postponed after sign up, you’ll be offered a transfer onto a new date or a full refund on your registration fee.

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