Wednesday, October 27, 2021

When Exercising Is a Killjoy: Strive For Quality over Quantity

Exercising for me has always come easy; to the extent my day feels incomplete without my fitbit, my ten thousand steps and yoga fix. However I might say that there are lazy days and I absolutely do give into them by making sure I bounce right back the next day. 

As a Covid warrior, it did take me a few months to get back to my usual routine, however, that was not a deterrent, instead, I resumed exercising in small doses, with weekly increases slow and steady for two months till I managed my pre Covid level. 

On the other hand I have family members who will find every excuse in the book not to exercise, even a consistent twenty minutes a day is a task.

So we have two types of people; 

The exercisers who know the benefits, love the natural high that comes from exercising and will always make the time to exercise.

The other type are, ‘Lacksersizers’ those who exercise purely to avoid the nagging of a spouse, child or their own brain. It’s a daily battle; exercise is a bitter medicine, a pill to stay fit, definitely a killjoy.

For a long time now, we know that being sedentary is bad for our health. People can be alarmingly complacent about exercise. The researchers found that some 7.2 per cent of deaths around the world are attributable to physical inactivity and this rises to 7.6 per cent when only looking at deaths caused by heart or blood vessel disease.

Being physically active is easier than you think. On those days when you are less motivated or hard pressed for time, here are a few gentle but effective exercises that you can do at your office desk or kitchen counter while waiting for the water to boil.

This ten-minute exercise routine can be done several times a day or at least twice a day on those “No motivation or time pressed days.”

PLEASE NOTE: It is best to seek the advice of your doctor and physical therapist to ascertain your fitness level and  other existing conditions before embarking upon any exercise program. You could inflict injury to yourself. 

For The Upper Body:

The Neck Roll, The Shoulder Shrug, The Arm Circle, The Incline Pushup.

For The Lower Body:

The Squat, The Kegel Exercise

The Upper Body: The shoulder, neck and arm areas are most prone to tightening, as this is the area of maximum stress build up. Loosening up this area several times a day works wonders for relaxing the upper body.

The Neck Roll: Loosens any crick you may have in your neck area.

Sit or stand facing a wall, eyes open, focusing on a point, gently roll your neck to the left-up-right-down, reverse right-up-left-down. This completes one cycle. Do five cycles.

The Shoulder Shrug: Releases the tension in your shoulder area, it is the nerves of this area that carry signals to the brain for the entire upper body function. Learn to always keep your shoulders relaxed.

Gently raise your shoulders to touch your ears, hold for five counts, lower to feel a stretch in your neck, hold for five counts and relax, repeat five times.

The Arm Circle: Especially good to loosen sockets, build muscle tone in shoulders, biceps and triceps and improve blood circulation.

Stretch arms forward, elbows locked straight, shoulder level then raise arms pointing to the ceiling, then stretch arms east and west, stretch arms towards the ground and back to the forward position, this completes one cycle, do five such.

The Incline Push Up: Strengthens the spine, they say spine health is the secret to longevity. 

Use your work top or kitchen counter to work effectively. Put your palms on the counter slightly wider than your shoulder width, now align your feet making sure your feet, body length and arms are in one straight line. Now bend your elbows to 90 degrees, close to your waist and lower your chest, hold for five counts then straighten your arms, this is one rep, do five.

The Lower Body:

The Squat: fires up muscles in your quadriceps (the largest muscle) hamstrings 

(the stiffest muscle) and calves.

Stand in front of a chair, raise your arms shoulder level, tighten your stomach muscles and your glutes, inhale and stand up, (press your heels to the floor to gain momentum) wait for five counts and with control, exhale and sit at the edge of the chair. This is one rep, do five.

The Kegel Exercise: In addition to supporting pelvic organs, your pelvic floor muscles control how effective your contractions are when you go to the bathroom. Stress urinary incontinence occurs when your bladder leaks under sudden pressure, like when you laugh, sneeze, or cough. Even exercising can trigger bladder leakage. Kegel exercise tightens these pelvic floor muscles.

Make sure your bladder is empty, then sit, stand or lie down. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles. Hold tight and count to five 5. Relax the muscles and count to five seconds. Repeat ten times, thrice a day (morning, afternoon and night)

As Physiotherapist, Dr. Fran Hallam says, “Movement is essential for every aspect of our health. Our bodies are designed to move and not doing so is harmful to our health, muscles and joints. As we become older, this can also increase the risk of falling.”

Quality over Quantity- Strive for good technique.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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