Tag Archives: Healthy Living

Decline Push Ups

This great exercise which targets the following muscle: Pectoralis Major (upper pecs)

Again like other exercises we have mentioned in previous blogs you can do this at home if you cannot make the gym. So lets get training before the summer!

Starting Position

1. Use a bench and place it in a flat position, then place your feet shoulder width apart on the bench raised up on your toes.

2. Your body should be in a straight line with your arms in line with your chest, arms fully extended in a push up position.

Movement

1. Slowly let your arms bend bringing your body towards the floor, and stopping before you touch the ground.

2. Hold for a moment with your abs contracted. Return to the start position by straightening your arms and using your pectorals.

Tips

• Try contracting your abs before you begin the movement.

• Come down slowly at the start of the movement and explode on the way to the top.

Enjoy this exercise and let us know your feedback. Alternatively pop down toDonnington Valley Health Club and let us know.

Fitness Team
Donnington Valley Health Club & Spa

Ball Pull-In

This month we have put together an exercise to target the rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis muscles (your core). Ideal to try at home with a fitball or at the gym, this is a great exercise for your abs and will help tone your tummy.

Starting Position:

Get into a press up position, placing the exercise ball on the lower part of your shins.
Your body should be in a straight line.

Movement:

Slowly pull your knees in towards your chest, allowing the ball to roll forwards under your ankles. Hold for a moment with your abs contracted. Return to the start position by straightening your legs and rolling the ball away from your body.

Tips:

  • Try tucking your chin into your chest during the movement.
  • Keep your back as straight as possible.

Have a go and let us know your feedback!

Fitness team
Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa

Winter Beauty

With the colder weather drawing in, it’s that time of year again to be thinking about how to try and avoid the inevitable winter skin blues.

Here are my Top Tops:

• If you use a cleansing wash or even cleansing wipes try and swap to a cleansing milk for the winter months to avoid stripping the skin.

• When possible, throughout the season use a moisturising face mask once or twice a week to top up the moisture levels in your skin.

• Keep your legs scale free and smooth throughout the harsh winter by using a good exfoliator on a weekly basis, and then apply a body moisturiser daily or even a body butter to nourish the driest of skins.

• Get glamorous this winter with this season’s nail colours like taupe, navy and even metallics, very chic on short nails.

• Keep yourself hydrated. Keep up your fluids and look after yourself from the inside.

• Start the day with a hot shower,but before you get out switch to cold water for about fifteen seconds. Then turn up the heat a little, and down again to repeat the process for about two minutes. I hear you say, why would I do a thing like that! This is a simple hydrotherapy technique which revitalizes the skin by stimulating the flow of blood through the body. It is both invigorating and highly beneficial to the skin. So even though you may not really enjoy the process, just think of the all the good it’s doing you!

• Use a facial moisturiser with an SPF as this will provide protection from all the elements.

• Drink a glass of hot water with lemon. This Chinese herbal remedy is a sure-fire method of energizing your body and will de-tox your entire system. This means that your body will be able to clean the blood faster to get rid of toxins responsible for bad skin.

• Simply sleep! Money cannot buy the benefits of a good night’s rest. Your oxygen levels will drop if you don’t get enough sleep, meaning that your cells will not be renewed as quickly. This is when degenerative skin aging sets in. Try to get seven, if not eight or nine hours of rest a night to achieve absolutely painless benefits. It’s ideal!

Alternatively pop down to the Spa for a treatment and a bit of pampering! See our website for all the treatments available:http://www.donningtonvalley.co.uk/spa_signature.asp

Hannah Henley Spa Director Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa

Our Guide to Hip Raises

This exercise will work your glutes, hamstrings, your core and lower back muscles. Before you give it a go, look at the teaching points below.

  • Lie on your back on the mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor

  • Raise your hips off the floor so that your body is in a straight line from knees to shoulders

  • Pause for 3 seconds in this positioning before lowering your hips back down to the floor

This is a great excercise you can do at home to firm up your hips and glutes, why not give it a go?

For more information on the Health Club at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa, and to try our 6 week membership offer see our website for detailshttp://www.donningtonvalley.co.uk/spa_trialmembership.asp

The Dumbbell Split Squat

An easy free weights exercise that targets the three major muscle groups in your lower body, your glutes, hamstrings and quads. Here’s how to perform the exercise safely.

  • Pick up a pair of dumbbells and hold them by your side
  • Take a big step forward so you are standing in a split stance
  • Your front foot should be flat to the floor, with the heel on your back foot raised off the floor
  • Lower your back leg until your knee is just off the floor
  • Pause at the bottom of the movement before pushing yourself back up to the standing position

Complete all your reps on the same leg before swapping over to work the other leg.

If you would like more information on these exercises or to book an

appointment with a personal trainer call 01635 551188

Tone Up For The Summer

Here are some effective exercises to get your abs in shape this summer.

Bicycle CrunchBicycle Crunch

  1. Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground
  2. Put your hands beside your head
  3. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle and slowly go through a bicycle motion
  4. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee
  5. Breathe evenly throughout the exercise
  6. To make it easier, keep your feet flat on the floor and go through the bicycle motion one leg at a time.

Long Arm Crunch

  1. Lie on your back with your arms over your head with hands clasped and arms close to your ears
  2. Keep your knees bent with feet flat on the floor
  3. Contract your abs and lift your shoulder blades off the floor.
  4. Lower and repeat for 12-16 reps
  5. An easier option is to keep hands on your temples.

We have a wide range of membership options available and many popular classes at Donnington Valley Health Club and Spa. Take a look at our website for more information.

The Season of Asparagus and Strawberries

Be sure to make the most of summer foods while they’re in season. Read on to find out more about two of my summer favourites, asparagus and strawberries.

Asparagus
British asparagus has a short season and is available from May to June. With this in mind it is well worth making the most of this lovely intense savoury flavour whilst it is at its best. Apart from being delicious, asparagus has high levels of vitamins A and C, iron and potassium, perfect for a healthy lifestyle.

If the spears are quite large simply break off the larger end of the spear and throw the woody ends away. Asparagus will naturally break where the woody stems give way to the tender part of the vegetable. You can use this marvellous vegetable for a starter, light lunch or incorporate it into a main meal. One of my favourites, which we make here in the Winepress, is simply to grill the asparagus and serve with a garlic mayonnaise. The simple preparation enhances the flavour of this wonderful ingredient, making it a wonderful seasonal treat. Alternatively why not try using asparagus in a creamy risotto or in a salad with bacon and salad leaves topped with a poached egg.

Strawberries

The arrival of the first British strawberries into the kitchen always brings a smile to my face. For me they are a true taste of summer.

Strawberries have been a key ingredient for classic British summer foods for many years. Desserts such as Eton Mess, summer pudding and the classic strawberries and cream are a few to mention. To get the very best flavour, I recommend eating them at room temperature, or even placing them in the sun for an hour or so, as this brings out their natural sweet flavour and colour.

As a delicious indulgent treat, I like to dip whole strawberries into melted dark chocolate and set aside until firm. You could serve these as petit fours for a dinner party or for children’s parties.

Strawberries need not be confined to the dessert menu, why not thinly slice strawberries and place them over a summer salad – delicious! Using a little balsamic vinegar or freshly ground black pepper enhances their fresh flavour. Make the most of these seasons’ strawberries and enjoy them in as many ways as possible, easy to do as they are so versatile. Why not let us know about any unusual combinations you have tried.

Why not pop over to Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa and let us prepare a mouthwatering meal using the best seasonal ingredients.

Mesut Sen
Sous Chef at Donnginton Valley Hotel and Spa

The Plank

When preparing for a holiday we know that everyone wants to look their best! The best abdominal exercise to get that tummy into shape is the plank. This not only works the top part of your tummy muscles but also the lower abdomen.
There is no need for any equipment this exercise can be done in your own home.

Follow the steps below and you will soon see the results.

The PlankFirst of all if you have any injuries or back problems consult your doctor first.
Start off on the lower options and as you practice you will be able to up your game.

  • Lie on a mat tummy down on the ground.
  • Bend your arms and bring them underneath your body lifting your chest and upper back off the ground.
  • If you’re a beginner leave your knees and legs on the mat. Keep your back flat and hold in your abs and bottom. Hold this position for as long as possible and then repeat.
  • Plank higher intensityTo add a higher intensity, bring your body up onto your toes into a plank position. It is extremely important to keep your body flat and not to let your bottom go up or let your hips drop.
    Hold this position for as long as possible and then repeat.

Why not stop by the Health Club and Spa at Donnington Valley Hotel to find out about our range of membership options and our fitness classes? Click here to find out more on our website.