Quick fitness drills for parents

One particularly numbing week I spent a whole Saturday watching slalom kayaking and the following Sunday dashing between two football tournaments – this on top of mid-week tennis chauffeuring.

Many parents miss having that time to spend on their own fitness. But you can slot in some valuable drills when you spectate. Remember:

Improving your posture gives you more bang for your training buck than any other exercise. A great standing posture takes years off your looks, pounds off your appearance and adds confidence to your style.

Moreover, if you’re busy, these drills are pretty inconspicuous. No need to change out of regular clothes. No need for kit. Super handy for public places! And this is not lame “kid yourself”-exercising – body builders work on posture too.

First things first: Align your feet with your hips – wider apart than how women normally stand. Keep your shoulders back – and relaxed. Pull in your abdomen. Balance your weight evenly on both feet. This all sounds easy! But the trick is to stay in this posture… no sneaky leaning on one leg. Your joints should be “stacked”: Ears over shoulders, ribs over hips, hips over heels, pelvis and spine in a neutral position.

Now you can address “text neck”. Gently lengthen your neck upwards as you tuck in your chin. Hold for five seconds. Do ten. Also good is placing hands on top of each other behind your neck and pressing your shoulder blades together – hold for 30 sec, rest 10 sec, do ten. Now you finish off with shoulder rolls – hold for a few seconds and roll down – alternating direction – ten in all.

If there’s a wall you can work that regal straight back look by standing up tall against it. Heels, shoulder blades and bottom all touching the wall, but not your lower back. Now lower your chin and try to place the back of your head against the wall. This will straighten your back beautifully –  step away from the wall and stay conscious of holding your new-found posture. On a pleasant summer’s day lying down on your tummy watching yet another game of U13 cricket  you can strengthen your back by lifting thighs and shoulders off the ground – alternating or at the same time. That will tone you too – never bad.

A simple hip stretch has you standing up, placing your left leg behind the other, and lean towards the right until you feel it. Hold for 30 secs, repeat a few times, alternate.

And while posture is top of mind try to focus on your feet – really. You should feel even pressure on your big toes, little toes and heels. This is necessary for your alignment and better for your calves.

See – your body will look and work better and you didn’t even break sweat! AND you didn’t miss your daughter’s amazing assist for the goal scorer…