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Do your heart a favour and get moving

Heart disease is on the rise and statistics* show that ten people will suffer a stroke and five people will have a heart attack every hour in South Africa, but the risk of contracting this disease can be warded off through leading a balanced lifestyle by eating preferred food choices as well as exercising regularly.

upped hands and red heart
Time, or lack thereof, has a lot to do with the fact that exercise gets put on the back burner but there are a few basic exercises that you can do without even having to leave the house. In addition, exercising at home provides the opportunity to involve the whole family.

Warm up:

The trick to working out effectively is to warm up well. With this in mind, put on your track suit, find an open spot in your house, turn your favourite music on and start stretching. Going for a quick walk around your neighbourhood or complex, is also a great way to limber up. If you own a bicycle, use it, even if it’s at a slower pace to begin with.

Take the stairs:

Once you’ve warmed up, you can really get going. All you need is a staircase with about 15 steps to get your heart rate up, burn fat, engage your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps and core. To get the blood flowing, first climb the stairs slowly. Repeat three to four times. Next, run up the stairs, then walk down. Repeat three to four times. Next, face the stairs with your left foot on the second step and your right leg behind you on the floor. Lift your right knee to your chest, then quickly step back to your starting position. Step down to the floor with your left leg, positioning it behind your right, then do a lunge (with your right knee directly over your ankle). Quickly step back up, left knee to chest and return to the starting position. Repeat on both sides 12 times.

Chair tricep dips:

Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or bench with your hands next to your thighs. Lift your body out just in front of the chair with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. Lower yourself down so your elbows bend no more than 90 degrees and push yourself back up. Repeat 10 to 15 times.

Change it up and cool down:

family walking in the park
Obviously these are but a few of the exercises you can carry out at home. Surf the Internet and browse fitness magazines to keep an eye out for new workouts and make sure you’re exercising correctly. Exercise elements such as fit balls, exercise bands, hula hoops and jumping ropes can also be added to your workout without breaking the bank. If you’re short on time, up the pace of your workout, to get similar benefits. When you’ve completed your workout, just remember to stretch and cool down properly too. Walking is a good way to go about this. Lastly, if you’re going to work out at home, do yourself a favour and stick to a routine as it’s easy to get distracted and find something else to do.

Here are some pre-workout snacks that your body will love:

aple slices with peanut butter

  • Apples are a great pre-workout snack when you’re doing cardio – they hydrate, give a little sugar jolt and are a good source of vitamin C
  • Water-rich fruit such as melons are low in acid and can help you stay hydrated and full of energy
  • If you’re feeling a little more energetic and want to go for a run or cycle, try to eat a combination of carbohydrates and proteins for sustained energy – opt for apple slices with peanut butter or natural plain yoghurt with half a banana
  • Going for a long walk? Grab a handful of boiled nuts or almonds to snack on. They are high in vitamin E, potassium and magnesium to help boost your stamina

For more exercise ideas with easy to follow diagrams, be sure to visit

*Statistics from South African Heart Foundation, 2014 annual report

Content provided by Naazneen Khan, Nutrition, Health and Wellness Manager at Nestlé South Africa
Click here to view her bio

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