I just had an eye opening experience that gave me a new appreciation for the importance of creating an ageless body. I recently had minor surgery, and for about 3 days afterwards I moved like a very elderly person. Needing help to get up and down the stairs and in and out of chairs. I thought, so this is what it’s like to not have the strength or mobility to live a “normal” life.
Thank goodness this was only temporary, but for many people it’s their life.
I truly believe we have the ability to control much the aging process. There are a few key points, elements to aging we can work with, strength and mobility being the two top contenders.
Strength is one of the first things to go. The funny thing is, it is so gradual people don’t even realize it is happening. They stop going to the gym or taking walks with friends. Perhaps they get an injury that takes them out of their regular activities, or a job change makes it impossible to go to their gym. It doesn’t matter what the reason for cutting back on their activities, job change, illness, injury or just plain life, once you stop putting your health and fitness first it’s a slippery slope down to immobility, pain and aging.
The hard part about getting back on track is taking the first step. So I’d like to offer you a couple easy ways to just get moving again. It doesn’t’ require a gym membership, or trying to find an hour 4 times a week, these are simple ways to put movement back into your life. If you don’t move frequently, so your body feels it’s a natural state of being, it’ll be that much harder for you to go and do a hardcore strength workout, or start swinging those kettlebells (actually, I think doing 10-20 swings is the EASIEST thing in the world to do, but that’s me).
I’m going to assume, for simplicity that “you” have an 8:00-5:00 desk job. Below are some easy ways to get moving. I am also going to include options for using resistance bands and light dumbbells (any Target, or sporting goods store carries these items).
Head rotations and tilts.
Shoulder rolls (both direction) Egyptian (see KB Boomer DVD, Ageless Body book).
Elbow circles: circle both elbows completely straightening out in each direction.
Wrist circles: both directions.
Fingers: make a fist and then spread your fingers as wide as possible repeat.
Spinal roll down (bend forward and then straighten up one vertebrae at a time.
Torso rotations: keeping your sit bones still, rotate your body right and left.
Knee circles: left your right leg up and circle your lower leg at the knee repeat left.
Ankle circles: circle your right ankle in both directions repeat other side.
Box (chair) Squat:
Number one lower body strength move: stand up and sit down without using your hands. Feet should be hip distance apart, and try and keep feet straight ahead (no ducks or pigeons), take off heels or shoes if possible. Do sets of 2-5 sets of 10. When standing up momentarily, squeeze your butt cheeks together and tight and “pull up” your knee caps (yes, just like the top of the swing!).
1) With band behind your back, stretch your arms out to the side, pinching your shoulder blades together, slowly bring your arms back in keeping the resistance.
2) Loop the band around your feet and do bicep curls and front raises.
3) Hold band in one hand behind back and the other overhead from Tricep extensions.
You can do all of the above exercises using dumbbells instead of bands if you prefer.
You can also add the dumbbells to the Box Squat as well. Either hold the dumbbells at your sides, put your hands with the dumbbells on your hips or put them on top of your shoulders.
All the strengthening exercises should be done for 8-10 reps and at least 2 sets.
It won’t take you more than 10 minutes. You can also break up the exercises in to one or two of your choice at a time for a quick 2-3 minute pick-me-up. What better way to energize your body, mind and spirit during your work day.
Just a little movement over the course of the day will increase your resting metabolism, reduce stress levels, and begin to get you back on the “healthy” track.
Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee or worse a sugary snack, try a few box squats or mobility exercises you’ll be surprised how much more energy you get from movement rather than relying on stimulants and sweets.
Two more strategies for adding movement and exercise into your daily life:
Pick a parking spot further from the door. Yes, seems like a simple option, and I know if you live in a cold climate like I do, you’ll want to dress warm! But that extra walk with fresh air will do you wonders.
Last but not least, I know you’ve heard this before, take the stairs instead of the elevator if at all possible. Even if you walk up 2 of the 4 flights it’s adding the equivalent of a 15 brisk walk to your daily workout.
Remember if you have knee problems, going up stairs is generally safer on your knees than going downstairs. Besides the aerobic benefits are greater too!
I hope you have found some easy fitness solutions to get you moving. In my opinion the simple options are often the best. In the end, whatever motivates you to take that first step is the right one for you!