20 ways to fit & fabulous (Part 2) - Upgrade Your Fitness & Upgrade Your Emotional Health

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Upgrade Your Fitness

Description: Good Health

1.    Hit the barre

Ballet workouts can transform your shape. Xtend Barre arrived in London from LA just last month. Classes involve a mix of traditional ballet moves at the barre, plus cardio and weights. 'Ballet workouts tone your stomach, arms and legs and improve your posture and poise, so the overall effect is a longer, leaner, more sculpted body,' says Jess Schuring, who runs Xtend Barre classes (heartcore.co.uk). Find out more at xtendbarreworkout.com, look for classes at your gym, or try a DVD such as Xtend Barre: Ballet Workout ($14, amazon.co.uk).

2.    Breathe yourself slimmer

'You can boost the fat-burning benefits of your workouts by breathing better,' says James, 'A new study shows it improves your performance by up to 15% because it boosts Wood oxygen.' James suggests taking fairly deep, controlled, mindful breaths during workouts and to always breathe out on effort (ie when you lift a weight or rise up during a sit up), 'You'll burn more calories than if you just take short, shallow breaths.' he says,

3.    Heal yourself by moving

Stressed? Squat to calm yourself and reduce back strain. With your palms in the prayer pose, feet hip-width apart and toes turned out at a 45-degree angle, squat down. As you go down, lift your chest up. Hold for 30 seconds.

Sad? Do the 'camel'. Kneel with your legs hip-width apart and toes pointing back. Breathe in and drop your tailbone. Place hands on your lower back and squeeze your elbows together. Lift up your chest and lean back. The result? A little mood lift.

Bored? Place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart, with your heels towards a wall (your body will look like a 'v', and you'll be in the downward dog position). Walk your right leg up the wall, then your left. Keep your legs parallel to the floor.

4.    Get fusion it

The latest yoga-fusion styles give you an added cardio or resistance workout. Weighted yoga (using hand weights to add extra punch), yoga spin (a mix of yoga and spinning) and 'troga' (doing yoga moves on a treadmill) are all popular in the States and will soon be docking here. Yoga with weights is now available in London, Brighton and Birmingham (yogahaven.co.uk) and expect others to follow this summer.

Description: Palestra Sport

5.    Share your work out

Love the idea of a personal trainer but can't afford it? Try 'Group PT’. Several gyms now offer personal-training sessions for groups of two or more. You get more attention than you do in a class, without having to pay the whole bill yourself,' says Anna-Marie Muldowney from David Lloyd (davidlloyd. co.uk). You can't beat personal training for getting results, but it’s expensive,' says James. 'So team up with a friend or two and ask local personal trainers if they'll offer you a group rate.'

Upgrade Your Emotional Health

6.    Turn up and tune out

Instead of updating Twitter on your way home from work, listen to music in the 60 to SO beats-per-minute range. 'This range mirrors your heart rate and reduces stress.' according to US neurologist Oliver Sacks. Here are some slowies but goodies that could de-stress your commute,.,

n  Angel Robbie Williams

n  Trouble Coldplay

n  The Sweetest Thing U2

n  Harder To Breathe Maroon 5

n  Say My Name Destiny's Child

n  Champagne Supernova Oasis

7.     Go cold turkey from that stress high

'Studies show the "high" we get when we're stressed is addictive,’ says Emma. 'Stress protects us from danger and gives us a hit of adrenaline to deal with it, but this feeling can be addictive - especially in our 24/7 culture, where being stressed is associated with being busy and important. Remember, much of stress is a choice - you don't have to feel tense because your train is late. It won't matter in a year, so stop reacting to situations and seeking out that daily "panic high". 'Next time you feel yourself starting to 'buzz', take some deep breaths, have a cup of camomile tea and calm yourself with the squat move in tip 8.

Description: Emotional Health

8.    Swap screens for screams

‘Too many of us are putting technology before our real relationship and sex life,’ says Emma. ‘We spend hours on laptops in the evening, looking through photo albums on Facebook of people we haven’t seen in years, while ignoring our boyfriend sat next to us on the sofa. Talking to your partner and making time for sex, on the other hand, really can crank up your happiness levels.’ So, step away from the laptop and suggest an early night, instead.

9.    Have a friend-tox

Good friends make us healthier, happier and even five longer,' says our psychologist Emma Kenny. However, toxic, negative friends do the opposite and need to be ditched' Not sure what side of the fence some of your pals are on? As a general rule, a good friend is somebody you always think about fondly, but can go ages without seeing, and when you eventually meet up you don't give each other a hard time about how long it's been, you simply respect each other's busy lives and enjoy catching up, A bad friend does make you feel bad, sucks the life out of you and leaves you feeling stressed or bad about yourself,' says Emma.

10.  Overhaul your overdraft

'Debt is a big problem for many women right now, and can cause anxiety and depression,' says Marie-Claire Carlyle, author of How to Become a Money Magnet ($14.30, Hay House). 'The first step towards a total debt detox is braving up and dealing with all those unopened bills to work out exactly how much you owe, Secondly, get help If you're struggling to meet monthly repayments or Incurring interest {get free advice and a manageable repayment plan from the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, cccs.co.uk, 0800 138 111). Next, reduce or give up your non-essential costs, like those daily lattes. If you need an incentive, just work out how much they're costing you in total each year (it could be up to $1,594!).' And If you buy your lunch every day, the saving could be even greater if you get organised and take a packed lunch to work instead. Lastly, carry cash rather than paying by card: ‘You’ll spend fess without even realizing,’ says Marie-Claire.

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