Afraid of the mirror?
Tips for getting back into shape
When talking about ‘returning to normal’, many of our co-workers here at Humanoo complained that lockdown had made them feel sluggish and lazy. After all, there weren’t as many opportunities to exercise, and stress made it easy to reach for unhealthy snacks or indulge in comfort food.
These bad habits, collected over this last stressful year, mean that many of us no longer feel good about our bodies. Even if we didn’t gain weight, a year of working from home and low-energy lockdown activities has done a number on our fitness and endurance levels, which in turn makes it hard to feel good about ourselves.
But the world is opening up again, so it’s time to get fit and give our bodies the love and attention they deserve. After all, we all know that our bodies has a positive influence on our self-esteem and helps us to master everyday challenges.
That’s why this article provides some tips and tricks to help you be present in your body and feel good about yourself. We want you to love yourself inside and out, so you can get out there and live your best life!
Most of us spend 6.5 hours a day sitting down!
Getting into shape is in vogue! So many people count their steps, have a gym membership (which they may or may not use) or have one or more exercise apps on their phone.
So why are we moving less? According to a study by German health insurance company TK, we spend 6.5 hours a day sitting down. And the current crisis and the resulting work from home didn’t change that – in fact it made things worse.
You might think that working from home would encourage us to get out of the house and get moving after work, but nope! That TK study indicates that lots of us are reluctant to exercise once the workday is done. 55 percent of 18- to 39-year-old participants said that they just want to relax on the couch after work – that’s more than half of those surveyed! The result: two thirds of those living in Germany do less than an hour of exercise a day. Oops.
Tips to get your body moving
In our last article, we taught you about the amazing vagus nerve, the longest cranial nerve in our body. The vagus nerve starts in our brain stem and reaches all the way into our chest and down to our stomach. It acts more or less like the ‘control room’ that connects our organs to our brain.
A healthy vagus nerve helps us to recover faster from stress, keeps our cardiovascular systems under control, and strengthens our immune system. And the best part is, even though the processes controlled by the vagus nerve are unconscious, we can use movement to activate and train the nerve to influence just those processes. It’s easier than you think!
1. Integrate movement into your daily life
- Given the choice between the elevator and the stairs, take the stairs.
- Use a step counter (most smartphones have one) and try to get in at least 10,000 steps a day.
- Go for a walk on your lunch break (whether you are working from home or at the office). And while you’re at it, why not bring your lunch and eat in the park. There’s nothing better, particularly in the summertime!
- Next time you want to meet up with someone, why not go hiking, or play a favorite sport?
- Walk or ride your bike instead of driving or taking public transport (the weather is improving, so now’s the time!).
- Dance like no-one is watching, all alone in your living room.
- Set aside 15 minutes each morning to move your body and do some sport, it’s a great way to start the day. In just a few weeks, you’ll feel good inside and out, ready to face the day without a care in the world.
Not sure where to start? The Humanoo app offers a variety of workouts; they’re a fun and fantastic way to challenge your body and mind and stimulate your vagus nerve. We have everything from Get in Shape for Summer courses to Cardio workouts to short 20 minute units for toning your stomach, legs, and buttocks, and of course we also offer courses that help prevent back and neck pain.
2. Start your day with some yoga in bed
There are so many studies proving that yoga has a positive effect on our bodies and minds. Physical exercise combined with deep breathing releases chemical messengers in our brain that make us happy.
And you don’t have to be a full-fledged Yogi to take advantage of the benefits this ancient Indian practice has to offer. A short 5-minute morning routine before you get out of bed is a great way to get your body moving and boost your spirits for the day.
- Start stretching the minute you open your eyes. Stretch your arms out behind your head and lengthen your body slowly to help you wake up. Switch between stretching and relaxing, and don’t forget to breathe deeply! You should really feel the blood start to circulate.
- Now sit up in a cross-legged position. You can kneel on your heels if that feels better. Place your left hand on your right knee. Twist to the right and place your fingertips on the bed behind you. You should be looking over your right shoulder. Breathe deeply. When breathing in, pretend that there is a silken string attached to your head, pulling your body up towards the ceiling. Repeat for five breaths on each side of your body.
- Now you can stretch out your rib cage by placing your lower arm on the bed and stretching the other arm up past your ear. Breathe deeply, then switch sides. Repeat three times.
Sound easy? Well, put your money where your mouth is and try out one of our yoga classes – a flow course for relaxation, or maybe yoga for the end of the work day, to help you let go of any stress.
The more challenging the yoga pose, the more you stimulate your vagus nerve, inviting more emotional resilience into your life. Over 3,000 studies have proven that regular yoga practice is amazingly good for you, helping to improve quality of sleep, lower blood pressure, reduce headaches, back and neck pain, and of course help with high blood pressure.
But remember, it takes around 66 days for a habit to become a routine. So be gentle with yourself if you can’t get into the swing of things right away. Just keep showing up; the rest will follow.
3. Shake off that stress
Seen any dogs lately? Mammals instinctively shake off their stress once a bad situation has calmed down.
If you’ve never tried it, you’ll probably feel pretty silly at first, but we promise that it’s a great way to symbolically get rid of everything that’s bothering you. This playlist will help you to get moving and shaking. Here’s how:
- Stand still and take a moment to discover which parts of your body are feeling tense (this step alone is a pretty big challenge for some people, so take your time).
- Now concentrate on those areas of your body and start to shake them. Start slowly and gently, and gradually increase your enthusiasm until you are really going for it. We give you our permission to really get into it, even if you look a little bit strange. Go ahead and make some noise if you feel like it! But do be careful with your head, you don’t want to injure yourself! Allow yourself 5-15 minutes to really shake out the tension.
- When you’re ready, start to slow down your movements and calm your body. Take a moment to focus on your body. What has changed?
It might seem silly, but we promise amazing results.
Bonus tip: join our weekly class challenge!
We know that you know that exercise is good for you, but we also know it can be really hard to get motivated. But maybe we can help! Our weekly class challenge in June will get your body ready for summer, and you’ll have the chance to win one of 5 Your Superfoods gift baskets.
All you have to do is take part in at least two weekly classes on the Humanoo app during the month of June, take a selfie of yourself during the class and post it to your Instagram Story (don’t forget to tag Humanoo!). Want to know more? We have all the details for you here.
Ready to move?
We hope this article has inspired you to get moving, and invite more exercise into your life. We know it hasn’t been easy to stay active during this crisis, and that anxiety, doubt, and worry can stop us in our tracks. You aren’t alone – there are so many people who feel the same way. It’s totally normal!
But just look outside at that beautiful weather: summer is an invitation to start to pay attention to your body and give it the love and care – and exercise – it needs. After all, the two of you have been through a lot together.
We are doing everything we can to make this journey easier for you, with a wide selection of courses, workouts, and exercises to inspire you and make it easier to reward your body with the exercise it needs. That’s our promise to you.
Your Humanoo Team