13th December

Thursday, December 13, 2012

We are well on our way with the Zero Calories Advent Calendar. Only 12 days until Christmas! If you are just joining us, feel free to browse through all advent posts, as some offers are still valid and the workouts are fantastic.

If you have been checking in every day, please endorse me in the right column (-->) for a Wego Health Activist Hero Award and let the world know what you think about the calendar by tweeting with #FatFreeXmas.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.
Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is, look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Today's workout is from Helen Witcomb at Whole Life Fitness.  Helen is a personal trainer who specialises in training over 50s and her blog contains exercises, tips and articles that deal with health and fitness issues for that age group. This workout is for older people who would like to improve their flexibility.

As we age flexibility begins to deteriorate as connective tissues stiffen, muscles shorten and joints become drier as synovial fluid dries up.  Such a pretty picture for the Christmas season! However we rely on flexibility to do tasks such as tying shoelaces and putting on socks.

If possible, see if there is a yoga class in your area which will help to improve range of movement as well as improve balance. If attending a class, or doing yoga, doesn’t sound like your cup of tea then the following might help.

Exercise your leg muscles by marching in place, raising each knee as high as you can. Start at 30 seconds and try to (gradually) work up to 5 minutes. We are trying to warm up the muscles. You can do the marching standing up, standing up using the back of a chair for balance or whilst sitting.

After marching do some leg swings which stretch your hip flexors and increase your range of motion.  Whilst standing and holding onto a stable surface (wall or back of chair) swing your leg from front to back. You need to keep your leg straight and the movement should come from the hips. Start with short swings and increase your range of motion a little with each swing but only do the range of movement that is comfortable for you. Switch legs after 10 swings and repeat on the other side.

Moving on do some side to side leg swings. These go across the body and then out to your side try not to rotate your upper body but again lead with the hips. It’s important the form of these exercises is correct not just the range of motion you achieve.  Switch legs after 10 swings and repeat on the other side.

Standing on one leg (using wall or back of chair to balance if needed) do a mobility exercise by trying to draw a circle with your toes, this will rotate your ankles. Do this both clockwise and counterclockwise to stretch all of your ankle muscles. Wiggle your toes for a few minutes to stimulate circulation and decrease stiffness.

We are going to go back to the marching on the spot, the aim being to increase your heart rate. Start at 30 seconds and try to (gradually) work up to 5 minutes.

End with some static stretches (below), hopefully by now your legs are feeling warm.  For the stretches below only stretch to a point of mild tension and do not stretch until it hurts. Once you have reached a feeling of tension, hold it for 20 seconds and remember to breathe!

Sit sideways on a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Hold the back of the chair with the nearest hand. Bend the opposite leg by dropping it off the chair. Slowly move your leg backwards until your knee is facing the floor. This will help stretch your quadriceps. Hold for 20 seconds then swing round and stretch the other leg.

In a seated position, bend one leg so that the knee forms a 90-degree angle and rest your ankle on the other knee. Gently push down on the knee of the crossed leg so that you feel a stretch in the hip. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch legs. If you would prefer an alternative exercise then whilst standing bring your knee up in front of you, take it out to the side and then down to feet together position. Hold on to wall of chair for balance if necessary. Switch legs after 10 repetitions and repeat on the other side.

Sit on the edge of your chair with your spine straight and chest lifted. Straighten your right leg and point your foot to the ceiling so that your heel is resting on the ground. Keeping your back straight slowly bend forward from the hips. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch legs.

To turn this into a calf stretch put a towel around the sole of your foot and hold an end in each hand. Slowly pull the towel towards you, pulling your toes toward you. This should create a stretch through your calf. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch legs.

That’s it! Doing this little exercise routine 3-4 times a week should help you with those tasks such as putting on your socks.

When something bad happens you have three choices: you can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.

Wow, three offers today.  Aren't you excited?

The first is a giveaway from the lovely folks at Green People.  I love their organic products which don't irritate my sensitive skin (see my review of their shampoo and self tanner).

Organic Skincare: High performance skin care formulations, with > 90% natural and organic phyto actives to protect, soothe and restore the skin’s natural moisture and sebum balance. All our moisturisers are easily absorbed and do not clog pores. ‘Less is more’ - a little goes a long way and only a small amount is required for perfect results. Organic food for your skin, products pure enough to eat!

Our award-winning, certified organic skin care range uses the highest quality natural, fairly traded and certified organic ingredients, carefully chosen to nurture and soothes even the most sensitive skin. Phyto Science - Plant performance without compromise - ‘nature and science goes hand in hand’. We offer anti-ageing, anti-blemish and allergy-friendly skin care with functional and clinically proven actives. Our formulations are packed with antioxidants and essential fatty acids and natural vitamins, minerals. Our products are not bulked with inactive fillers or water and we do not use any harmful additives or drying, skin-irritating Alcohol.

Our products are suitable for all the family and all skin types – including skin prone to eczema and psoriasis.

Green People have provided us with 3 of these lovely gift packs to giveaway!

To be in with a chance of winning just send an e-mail to giveaway@ptmollie.com with the subject Green People and your name and address in the body. Winners will be drawn at random and notified via e-mail. Unfortunately we can only ship to UK addresses.

Our second offer of the day is one for everyone all over the world and comes to you from Claire Benson at Unstuck Thinking. 

We all know Christmas is great fun, but it can be quite stressful too - late nights, too much wine & mince pies, all those presents to buy and sometime even seeing our families can be stressful, even though we love them! 

To help you unwind this Festive Season, just take just 20 minutes out of the madness for you and listen to this deep relaxation from London hypnotherapist Claire Benson. Claire recorded this relaxation especially for the Zero Calorie Advent Calendar (Thank you Claire!) and it's blissfully calming.

To download visit Claire's website here and enter the code fatfreexmas at the checkout.

Have a fantastic and completely calm Christmas.

The third offer of the day comes to you from Run Rabbit Apparel .
Run Rabbit Apparel is a new running brand that offers t-shirts with personality, for those with personality. All t-shirts are made from sweat-wicking, lightweight, 160gsm polyester – light enough to feel like the Emperor’s New Clothes when worn, but robust enough to ensure they last longer than your PBs.

Becca is a big fan and wore one of their tops when she was photographed for a feature in Bodyfit magazine.

Run Rabbit are offering 25% discount off all tees (excluding P&P) when you order in the next 7 days and used promo code CRIMBO25 at checkout.


The third charity we are highlighting is Leuka.  Leuka leads leukaemia research by supporting life-saving research into the causes and treatment of leukaemia and other blood cancers. After 30 years of specialising in leukaemia we have built a charity with extensive expertise in blood cancer. We work with doctors, scientists and clinicians who all offer a unique capacity to support research vital to the advancement of treatments and cure.

Becca lost her Uncle to the disease 2 years ago He was treated and cared for at Hammersmith Hospital which has close links with Leuka, so it is a cause which is close to her heart. 
To donate please visit our Virgin Money Giving site at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/zerocalorieadvent  

Back to Thinking Slimmer for today’s recipe - a nutritious and healthy meatloaf.


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