Belt up for health

For many, hectic lifestyles can lead to stress, muscle tension and shallow breathing. Belts are a fantastic fashion accessory for improving and optimising your breathing. If worn cleverly, they can act as an objective marker to see how well you are actually breathing, which will benefit many bodily functions.

Breathing in through your nose, bring the air into your tummy and let it push against your belt. Hold for five seconds and release. Do this three times every hour. This will promote deeper breathing, help you take on more oxygen and facilitates the elimination of carbon dioxide

Belts are also a good guide to how well your abdominal muscles are holding up through the day. If you feel your midriff beginning to bulge above and below the belt, counter the sagging by standing or sitting tall, lengthening your spine and draw your belly button towards your spine without holding your breath.

The shape of fashion

Wearing fitted and tailored garments can encourage you to get your tummy into shape. Start by pulling in your abdominal muscles, release by 70 per cent and hold this 30 per cent contraction for as long as possible. Repeat this exercise hourly

Lengthen your spine by standing/sitting tall and straight. A great marker to achieve this is to increase the length between your belly button and your chest. This can improve your overall posture and make you look longer and leaner.

Stepping out

Regular wear of high heels can shorten the calf muscles and throw your whole body out of alignment. Uneven surfaces can also be hazardous for killer-heel enthusiasts. The key to great legs and feet – and to avoid bunions and blisters, or pain in your ankles, knees and legs – is variation and moderation. Walking in a variety of shoes allows your sedentary body to move through its full range of movement.

Opt for a wider, chunkier heel for more stability

Show-off your varied shoe wardrobe of low, medium and high heels, and trainers

Make the most of that big designer bag: carry your killer stilettos while you walk briskly or run around in your flat shoes or trainers

In your bare feet you can exercise your calf muscles and take them through their full range of movement. Standing safely on the edge a bottom step drop your heels as far as they can comfortably go so that you are feeling a stretch in your calf muscles. Hold for 10 seconds then roll on to your tiptoes. Repeat this five times

Sammy Margo
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Sammy Margo

Sammy Margo has been a chartered physiotherapist for the last 27 years. Based at North West London Physio and Rehabilitation Centre, she was English football’s first female physio at Barnet FC. She is also a sleep expert.
Sammy Margo
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