WAKE UP PAIN-FREE
If you’re suffering from aches and pains, it’s easy to shun exercise altogether. ‘Exercise is actually going to ease those niggles,’ says Jo. ‘Unless there’s an underlying health condition, most are the result of a muscle imbalance or weakness. For example, if you spend the day at a desk, your hip flexors get tight, which can cause knee pain. And the muscles supporting the knees, hips and lower back become weak if you don’t exercise.’
‘Do a daily plank,’ says Jo. ‘It’s extremely effective at strengthening your core, which supports the whole back and promotes good posture.’ Only hold it for as long as you can with good technique, even if that’s 10 seconds. Lie on your front, resting on your elbows, palms facing down, toes tucked under, and then raise your body off the floor. Engage the muscles around your middle and don’t allow your bottom to stick up or your back to sag. Breathe evenly. Go swimming. It’s gentle on the body because the water supports you, but it works all of your muscle groups.
Combat tight desk hips with leg swings whenever you have a spare few minutes. Keeping your torso still, swing each leg back and forth 10-15 times and then sideways across the front of your body.