If you feel good, you look good. Whatever your fitness level, and even if the memory of school P.E. lessons makes you shudder, there is a pre-wedding workout for you.
Wedding fitness is not about setting ridiculous targets about the way you need to look. Don’t feel the pressure from airbrushed celebrities, this is all about your body and feeling the best you can for your special day.
While it might feel that wedding planning is taking up all your time, exercise can help relieve stress and help you sleep better, exactly what you need when planning a wedding.
We talked to journalist Sarah Veysey as she explains how to overhaul your fitness regime without it taking over your life:
“The most stressful part of planning my wedding was working out the seating plans for the meal. During one particularly tense discussion about whether Auntie X should be seated beside Great-Uncle Y, my now-husband and I decided to go and play a game of tennis.
“Neither of us will ever be troubling Wimbledon, but a few lost tennis balls and a lot of laughs later, we returned to our seating plan and were able to quickly make a decision (we sat Auntie X next to Great-Uncle Y and they got on like a house on fire.)
“You might already have a fitness regime, in which case you probably won’t want to alter that too much as you prepare for your wedding. But if you are looking for ways to tweak your regime or you just want some simple exercises to help you tone up then we have some perfect ideas for you.
“None of these exercises require equipment and can be performed in the garden, your living room or wherever takes your fancy. All of these exercises can be made more challenging as your fitness increases, or simplified if you find them difficult at first.”
It is important to make sure you are properly warmed up. Dynamic warm-up exercises are better for your mobility than holding static stretches. A steady jog (on the spot if space is tight) can help to loosen you up and get your heart rate up.
Then try some lunges – again either on the spot or walking – bending both legs and aiming for a 90-degree bend in your legs. You can make this more challenging by twisting your upper body towards the front leg or by holding your arms above your head.
Then add some walkouts – from a standing position, bend forwards to place your palms on the floor (try to keep your legs straight as you do this) then walk your hands forward until you are in a plank position. Then walk your hands back up until you are standing again. You can add a press-up when you are in the plank position.
To mobilise your hips, go into the plank position (with your hands rather than your elbows on the floor). Then bring one leg up towards your hands and place it on the floor. Then repeat with the other leg. You can rotate your hips for added flexibility if you wish.
Other exercises to add to your warm up include:
Squats – try to keep your body upright and imagine that you are lowering yourself onto a chair
Slow mountain climbers – from the plank position, keeping your body in a straight line, bring one knee to your chest, then repeat with the other leg.
The Exercises You’ll Need For Your Workout
Exercises that use more than one muscle/joint at a time are the most beneficial (and this helps to save time too). These exercises can all be made more challenging as your fitness increases. You can increase the number of repetitions you do, or reduce your rest, or combine exercises to keep your workouts challenging and interesting.
Squats exercise some of the biggest muscle groups in your body, including hips, glutes, quads and hamstrings – which means they burn a lot of calories – as well as strengthening your core.
When you’re starting out, aim for about 20 repetitions. Once you get stronger you can start squat variations- jumping squats, or split squat jumps.
With your arms under your shoulders, pull in your abs, and then bend your elbows to lower your chest towards the ground keeping your elbows close to your sides, and then push back up. Your body should remain in a straight line – beware the sticking up bum!
When you are starting out you can have your knees on the floor. Once you have mastered the press up you can try press-ups variations like incline press-ups (with your feet on a bench or step) or alligator press-ups – where you bring one bent leg around to your elbow while bending your arms.
From the press-up position, lift one knee at a time towards your chest – this should be a relatively fast movement as though you are running on the spot. Try to keep your abs tight and your body straight.
Burpees exercise your whole body. From a standing position drop down to a crouching squat with your hands on the ground, then jump your feet backwards into a plank position, jump your feet back into the squat and then jump to standing.
Aim for 10 repetitions and first and then gradually increase this over the weeks. Once you are feeling fitter you can progress to the Military Burpee – a burpee where you start from flat on the floor.
Developing a strong core will help with all the other exercises so can be great if you’re feeling unsteady with other exercises.
Try holding the plank for 30 seconds to a minute. Once you are happy doing this you can add variations such as twisting one arm up to the sky then repeating with the other, plank to press (from the plank position lower yourself onto your elbows and then back up again – remember to alternate your arms) and plank jacks (jumping your legs out to a star position and then back in again).
You can add exercises, increase your repetitions, or reduce your rest to keep your workouts interesting. Once you have finished, though, it is important to stretch once again to warm down.
Stretches to try include:
The Yoga Child’s Pose – from a kneeling position, sit back on your heels with your arms extended in front of you and your tummy almost flat on the ground.
The Downward-Facing Dog – also a yoga move. From your hands and knees, with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips, straighten your arms and legs.
Kneeling hip flexor stretch – with one knee bent in front of you and the other leg bent out behind you on the floor, drive your hips forward.
Quad stretch- standing straight bend one leg up behind you and hold it there flamingo-like. Remember to keep your knees together. You might need to hold onto a wall or a friend if you are unsteady.
So now you have these simple core moves, take a look at some other ways you can improve your overall fitness.