After bidding goodbye to Downton, British Military Fitness has travelled back in time to shed light on how Britain kept fit and flexible in the days of Lady Mary and co.
With the war over, and Britain enjoying a period of prosperity, fitness in the roaring twenties of Downton began to take off with women and men alike beginning the quest for self improvement that we still see in gyms up and down the country today.
So just exactly how do you keep fit like the Crawleys ? Here's all the exercises you’ll need to get limbered up for Downton, taken straight from the twenties.
To start, stand up straight with your heels together and your toes pointing slightly outwards. With your arms straight down and your palms facing inwards, this is intended to create uniformity and order, ready for you to await further instruction.
With your mouth closed and your hands placed lightly over your lower chest, take in deep nasal breaths, exhaling slowly to relax and prepare the body.
Step and Recover
This is where our idea of a step class really started. With your hands placed firmly on the hips, lift your right foot and step about two feet in the direction of your toes, then step backward and repeat on the left foot.
Lunge and Recover
To give your legs a good stretch. With your right foot, lunge out about three paces in the direction of your toes whilst keeping your other leg completely straight- no heels peeping up. You should feel a pull on your left leg. After ten seconds, stand back straight. Repeat by lunging forward with your left foot.
To begin, place your fingertips on your shoulders and your elbows by your side. Proceed to bend forwards keeping your legs straight. Using your hips as a hinge and keeping your back straight, lift your chest upwards and stretch the midriff.
Sideways Leg Lift
With a straightened back, hands on hips and pointed toes, lift your right leg into the air to the side of you at an angle of about 75 degrees. Slowly return to standing and repeat the exercise with the left leg.
With your elbows tucked into to your lower chest, extend your arms outward and then lift so that your fingertips are touching your shoulders. This is effectively a basic bicep curl if you've done these at the gym before.
Arms Up and Down Stretch
Start with your hands about shoulder width apart with straight arms and palms facing inward and widen your stance to keep you balanced. Then reach upwards as far as possible before returning to a relaxed position.
Forwards Leg Lift
With a straightened back, hands on hips and pointed toes, lift your right leg forwards, into the air, as far as possible. Slowly return your leg to the floor and repeat the exercise with the left leg.
With your hands placed tightly on your hips, lift your left foot into the air and point your toes downwards. Proceed to hop into the air using your right foot as a springboard. To help you balance, lean slightly toward the side of the foot you've got in the air.
Stand at Ease
With your feet about twelve inches apart, clasp your hands together behind your back and take some deep breaths. This will help you nicely unwind.
Now you’ve finished your Twenties work out, you can relax, sit down and get ready for Downton!
- For more fitness tips pick up the latest issue of Yours