Vote: your right to exercise

Election time: long waits, long queues and irritation. But did you know the 2011 elections can be the start of firmer thighs, killer abs and better sex? Use your time in the queue to exercise your body and mind (without anyone noticing).

Strengthen your inner thighs

Try this excellent isometric exercise: stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. While standing still, force your inner things together. Hold the tension for five counts, and release. Repeat 10 times.

Firm your outer thighs

This is similar to the above but try to separate your legs while standing dead-still.

Maximise your maximus

If you are wearing a coat or bulky jersey, you can get away with this exercise without amusing the person behind you. Clench the muscles in your bottom and hold for five seconds. Relax and repeat.

Flatten your tummy

While sitting or standing, tighten your stomach muscles. Keep them contracted to the count of seven, then release. Repeat.

Do your Kegels

Who knew that the 2011 elections would help you ward off urinary incontinence and increase your pleasure of sex? Try squeezing your pelvic floor muscles as hard as you can for a count of three seconds. Then let them relax. Repeat until your muscles feel tired. Learn more about Kegel exercises here.

Practise your elocution

If people complain that you mumble or speak unclearly, this is the exercise for you. In many cases, a lazy tongue is to blame. To increase the strength and flexibility of your tongue, wiggle your tongue from side to side for one minute. Now move it up and down for one minute. Take a break, and circle your tongue for another minute.

Boost your brain

Subtract seven from 100. E.g. 100-7=93; 93-7=…. Alternatively, briefly look at a name on a poster; close your eyes; spell and say the name backwards.

Calm your mind

If the ballot box is still miles away, breathing exercises can help calm the mind. Start by becoming aware of your breath – in, out, in, out. Then start noticing the movement of your chest as you breathe in and out. Now try and breathe all the way into your stomach, still staying aware of the in-out movement of the breath. Finally, stretch out your breath – breathe in slowly while counting to five. Hold the breath for a second, and then exhale slowly, again counting to five. Doing these breathing exercises for a couple of minutes will definitely put you in a more relaxed frame of mind. But be careful not to hyperventilate – if you start feeling dizzy, stop immediately and let the breath return to normal.

When your chance to vote has finally arrived, make sure you take this visual perception test: check whether your ballot paper is stamped at the back. If it is not, your vote will not be counted (and we’re not kidding).

Health24, May 2011

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Click here for loads of exercises you can do at home or in the gym

Walking, swimming, running, cycling - we have a fitness programme for you

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