Exercises

For an informal VIDEO of the World’s Easiest Morning Workout click HERE!    For WRITTEN LIST click HERE!

Kwan Sai Hung (97 years young) has open QIGONG classes Tuesdays 6:15 pm at Cornell Street Studios in Kingston. Many of the exercises above are from Kwan’s warmup.

importance of daily exercise video

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Dr. Mike Evans’ 23 and 1/2 hours what is the single best thing we can do for our health? You will be astounded to see the scientific evidence backing the health benefit of a simple 1/2 hour of walking or exercise every day. Also, take a look at his excellent website.

Walking And Pedaling

Walk briskly every day for a half-hour in your neighborhood or on a treadmill in your home. If you don’t have a treadmill, either march in place at the kitchen counter or set up a circuit that you can walk in your home. Listening to music makes this a little more enjoyable. Or you can pedal on a stationary bike, building up gradually in 5 minute increments to a 20 to 30-minute session, four to five times per week.

Remember, pay attention to your breathing and keep a positive frame of mind. Your worries will come and then drift away like clouds going across the sky. Don’t dwell on them, just let them go.

This walking or biking time is your time. Don’t let anything distract you from it. You will build up a routine and really start to enjoy it. Ask anyone who walks or exercises if they ever want to miss a session. They probably don’t. They love it. It becomes a vital part of their daily life. It’s just a matter of getting started.

Some General Guidelines When You Exercise

  • Set aside a specific time every day for exercise.

  • Be consistent. To get benefits from any exercise program, do it regularly.

  • Warm up and cool down; stretch both before and after you exercise.

  • Start with as little as 10 minutes of exercise a day and increase gradually to 30 minutes for maximum benefits.

  • Use the talk/sing test. To find out if you’re exercising hard enough or not enough, use this simple check. If you can’t talk and exercise at the same time, you’re working too hard. If you can sing and exercise, you’re not working hard enough.

  • Always ease into an activity for the first five minutes, and slow down the pace for the last five minutes instead of stopping suddenly.

Exercise Ideas

  • Take a daily walk. Find a friend to walk with. You will encourage each other when you’re tempted to take a day off.

  • Try an exercise video. Look for videos for beginners. Avoid starting with programs that include jumping and twisting. Instead, try videos for stretching, muscle toning or relaxation. A note of caution: Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

  • Check out exercise classes offered through community centers, gyms and senior centers. Look into yoga, t’ai chi or other non-traditional exercise programs. They are a great way to improve flexibility, muscle tone and relaxation. Call your community swimming pools about adult swim times or water exercise classes. Many pools offer classes just for seniors or others who want a slower pace.

  • Dance your way to better health. Square dancing, ballroom or folk dancing are excellent ways to increase your endurance and improve your balance.

  • If you think you need help to find the right exercise program, ask your doctor. (http://www.caregiverslibrary.org/Default.aspx?tabid=130)

We recommend The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, by Martha Davis. If you work from a workbook or handbook, it will give you a system, a little discipline, and make self-care more enjoyable.

An Easy And VERY Effective 15-Minute Exercise Program

Demonstration videos showing the following exercises (as well as ANY that are described in this book) can be found at www.thecaregiverwebsite.com.

As a physical therapist I have seen it over and over…some people like to exercise and others don’t. There’s rarely a middle ground. Here is a simple exercise regimen. Our goal here is efficiency…to show you an exercise program that is simple, will save you time and is complete in and of itself.

We have refined this program out of hundreds of exercises. You will not be wasting your time by practicing these exercises. They will work the tightness out of your joints, make you stronger, improve your balance and walking, stimulate your adrenal glands, internal organs, circulation and, last but not least, help you feel better.

Do these exercises in a spirit of fun. Start with just a few repetitions, 5-10 times, and gradually build up to 30 or even 40 times. Keep this routine to about 20 minutes, 4-5 times per week. Consistency and staying committed to the daily time that you set aside for these exercises is very important.

  1. Stand and twist your trunk gently back and forth, letting your arms swing easily like a “washing machine.” Your arms are very loose and will lightly tap against your low back and buttocks, stimulating your kidneys. Your feet can gently rock in a heel-toe fashion. Most movement is in the waist and trunk. 30-50 times.

  2. Lift one arm up over your head, with your palm up, while pushing the other hand down. Look up at the hand that goes up, alternating side to side. You are getting a good “squeeze” of the internal organs with this exercise. 5-10 times.

  3. Hold your hands loosely together on your abdomen about 3 inches below navel, drop chin into chest, (massages thyroid), then stretch head up and out (stretches thyroid area). This is like a turtle putting his head into a shell and then stretching it out. For additional benefit, while tucking the chin, lightly press on the abdomen with your hands. 5-10 times.

  4. With your hand held loosely in a fist, lightly thump the thymus gland. It’s located right at the top of the sternum or breast bone, about 2 inches down from the base of your neck. 20-30 times. (Mark Johnson, Tai Chi for Seniors)

  5. Rotate arms forward from your shoulders, like crawl stroke (freestyle) swimming – and then backward like doing backstroke 10 times each direction.

  6. Arms at your sides, feet apart, inhale and raise your arms up and out to the sides (palms down) to about shoulder height. Now, still lifting, rotate palms up and start to bring your hands together. Now push the palms down in front of you as you exhale and gently back to starting position. You are making a nice fluid circle with each hand. Inhale up and exhale down. This is a very basic, essential qigong exercise. Imagine that you are gathering energy going up and then sending it down through your body as you circle down.

  7. Standing, feet apart, back of the hands on top of your head, palms up and elbows way out to the sides, exhale and push up with both hands. At the top, arms fully extended, go up on your toes for a few seconds. Slowly exhale as you lower down on to your feet and lower the arms. 5 times.

  8. Feet wide apart, do a gentle half-squat with toes pointing out, trunk erect. Your knees go out to the sides over your feet, not forward. ONLY GO A FEW INCHES DOWN! It is as if you are sitting back on a high stool. Don’t do this if you have knee problems or arthritis in the knees.

  9. Raise one hand overhead and follow it up with your eyes. Roll your eyes up, keeping head level, and as your eyes get to the top, imagine your vision is penetrating to the pituitary gland in the center of your brain. Repeat with each individual hand and then both hands. 3 times.

  10. Stand with arms relaxed, hands by hips. Now swing both arms back at the same time, shoulders loose, almost like you are pushing back on ski poles. Push back, and let the arms swing forward naturally. You will develop a gentle up and down motion of the legs to keep a nice rhythmic swinging of the arms. Keep your breathing deep and relaxed. Do this for 5 minutes.

  11. Gentle spinal curl. Starting at the neck, curl down with your spine. You don’t need to go too far down. Imagine that your back is like a bicycle chain and you are bending down one “link” at a time. Keep your arms and shoulders relaxed as their weight pulls you down. Let your head hang down, and as you curl back up, start at the middle of your back and curl back up to the neck.

T’ai Chi

Probably the fastest growing and most widely practiced exercise for stress reduction is t’ai chi. Practiced daily by millions of people in China, t’ai chi has well-documented beneficial physiological effects, such as lowered blood pressure, improved cardiac function and the like.

Other proven benefits of t’ai chi include:

  • physical strengthening

  • increased energy, coordination and circulation

  • increased body awareness, balance, and personal acceptance

  • better posture

  • stress reduction

T’ai chi is a great way to reduce stress. The mental focus of the mind leading the movement, thinking only of the movement, the slow flowing shifts of balance, the regular, deep breathing, the harmonious turning of the limbs and the circular openings and closings of the t’ai chi form make it one of the best stress reducers available. (Bonifonte 25)

We won’t go into the details of the movements of the t’ai chi practice. The 11 general exercises listed above will form a very good basis for starting this wonderful discipline. Many books and DVDs are available to help you get started. Ideally, you should learn in a group with a teacher.

Caregiver Revolution :For families, loved ones and professionals who want to change caregiving into a positive, life affirming experience.

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