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Keep fit at home with the lifeboat crew

Being active and staying fit has never been more important. As well as your physical fitness it can help with mental wellbeing too. Lifeboat crew members share some top tips for healthy exercise indoors.

Ilfracombe RNLI Crew Member Becky Hutson and her dog Pom show us how to do squats

Fit for the crew

‘Being on the crew can be tough on my body,’ says Becky Hutson, lifeboat volunteer, watersports instructor and personal trainer. ‘When my pager goes off I don't know how long I’ll be going out on the lifeboat for or what I’ll need to do. Good conditioning reduces my risk of injury, increases my physical abilities and allows me to be an efficient member of the team.’

Crew Member Becky assists a man who is cut off by the tide while the lifeboat with two other crew members onboard stands by

RNLI/Nikki Bradshaw

‘Stepping onto rocks from the inshore lifeboat is much slicker with good balance and coordination’

‘It’s not just about upper body strength,’ says Becky. ‘Pulling in an anchor or pulling someone out of the water requires lower body strength too. Staying strong and supple helps me be prepared for whatever comes my way.’

Fit for you

Keeping fit is not just for the crew. Twenty to thirty minutes of moderate physical activity a day is all that’s needed for anyone to stay fit. The key is to keep moving, and that can be working out or a hundred other things, like yoga, gardening, doing household chores, riding a bike or walking the dog.

Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat crew

RNLI/Lough Swilly

Try and be active, do something every day,’ says Lough Swilly Crew Member Stephen Quigley – pictured here with his crewmates, who have been challenging themselves to keep fit with the help of social media
You’ll find bags of home workouts to follow online. You don’t need specialist equipment – if it’s weights you’re after, you’ll find plenty of things to use around the house. Becky suggests tins of beans! And a wall or chair back – to steady yourself on – are never too far away.

‘It’s best to warm up for a few minutes before you begin,’ says Shoreham Harbour RNLI’s Lynzi Mulford. ‘Dynamic stretches will warm up cold muscles and your cardio system.’

Just as important is stretching to warm-down at the end. ‘This allows your your muscles to start to contract and return to their resting position,’ says Lynzi. ‘If you stretch you are less likely to be tight in your legs or arms afterwards.’

Whatever you do, take care when exercising, particularly if you have an underlying health condition or an existing injury. And if you have any concerns about your health seek medical advice from your GP, by phone or online.
Shoreham Harbour Crew Member Lynzi Mulford (aka Scooby) running the 2019 Brighton Marathon, and in her regular crew kit
Lynzi (aka Scooby) running the 2019 Brighton Marathon, and in her regular crew kit

Becky and Pom’s 15-minute workout

Here’s a basic workout you can do from the comfort of your living room. It will help strengthen and tone your muscles, and improve your balance and flexibility. And because the exercises are low impact, you shouldn’t find them too hard on the joints either. 

Allow 30 seconds for each exercise – doing as many reps as you can in the time – before going on to the next. Try completing all five exercises without stopping. Then rest for 2 minutes and repeat the exercises twice more with 2-minute rest breaks in between.

1. Bird dog

Core (tummy, sides, back) ✔  Balance ✔  Coordination ✔

Ilfracombe Crew Member Becky Hutson and her dog Pom show us how to do the Bird Dog

Kneel down on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips. Keep your back flat and pull in your tummy.

Slowly, and with control, bring up your left arm and your right leg at the same time, and stretch them out in line with your shoulder and hip.

Hold for 1 second and slowly return to all fours, then repeat with the opposite arm and leg. That's 1 rep.

2. Superman

Back ✔  Bottom ✔  Backs of your legs ✔

Ilfracombe RNLI Crew Member Becky Hutson and her dog Pom show us how to do the Superman

Lie flat on your tummy face down, with your legs out straight behind you and reaching your hands above your head.

Keeping your arms and legs as straight as possible, try to bring your hands and feet off the floor as high as you can, making your body banana shaped.

Hold at the top for 2 seconds and then relax back down to the start position. That's 1 rep.

3. Tricep press up

Core (tummy, sides, back) ✔  Chest ✔  Backs of your arms ✔

Ilfracombe RNLI Crew Member Becky Hutson and her dog Pom show us how to do a press up

Start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Keep your tummy tucked in and your bottom in line.

Lower your chest down to the floor keeping your arms tight by your sides with your elbows in.

Push yourself up keeping your body strong and in line, back to the start position. That's 1 rep. 

Tip: If you find this too difficult try it with your knees on the floor.

4. Standing lunge

Lower body ✔  Balance ✔  Coordination ✔

Ilfracombe RNLI Crew Member Becky Hutson and her dog Pom show us how to do a standing lunge

Put your right leg about a foot forward of the centre line of your body and your left leg about a foot back. Hold your chest up proud and keep your tummy tucked in throughout the exercise.

Bend both legs so that your right leg at the front is at a 90-degree angle – stop just before your left knee touches the ground and make sure your knee is heading towards your toes.

Push yourself back up to the start position. That's 1 rep – make sure you do the same number of reps on both sides – swap your legs over.

Tip: Hold onto the back of a chair with one hand to steady yourself if you need to.

5. Squat

Lower body ✔

Ilfracombe RNLI Crew Member Becky Hutson and her dog Pom show us how to do squats

Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart and your toes pointing outwards.

Lower down into as deep of a squat as you can by pushing your hips back as you bend your knees. Make sure your knees are heading towards your toes, stick your bottom out and hold your chest up proud. 

Hold for a second at the bottom of the squat then stand up by driving your hips forward as you straighten your legs. That's 1 rep – if you want to make it more difficult you can hold a weight, like Pom here! 

Thank you

Becky says: ‘Thank you for supporting the crews during this difficult time. Thanks to you we’re doing all we can to continue to save lives and help people in difficulty on the water. Your support is more important to us now than it’s ever been.’

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