Thursday, January 11, 2007

My “I Hate to Exercise” Exercises

For the past 70-some years I’ve tried to pass myself off as an active, “sporty” type of person. If the truth be known my favorite “activity” is reading a good book while curled up in an overstuffed arm chair.

When I retired in 2001 I realized that I would have to face this problem head on. I could very easily see myself turning into a fat couch potato. There were 2 things that I had never done well & they were: 1) sticking to a healthy eating pattern and 2) keeping a regular exercise regimen. My intentions were always good but the follow-through was atrocious.

It was at this time that a good friend suggested Tai Chi and she and I attended a few classes. I didn’t stick with it but I was very impressed with the warm-up movements. These are 18 exercises that are designed to relax and tone all the major joints in the body. I realized that I had finally found an exercise regimen that I could stick to. During the last 5 years I have had an operation and been sick a few times but I have always kept up with my exercise plan.

It takes me about 15 minutes each morning, and, although they are deceptively simple, these basic exercises have proved to be remarkably beneficial. From a standing position I rotate my neck (right, then left), raise and lower my shoulders, shake my hands, “paint the wall”, “circle the moon“...front and back, “play the accordion”, “swim breast-stroke on land”, circle hips, right & left, touch toes, bend backward, bend side to side, “look back at the moon”, bend legs & circle knees, circle ankles, “sit” on an imaginary chair, rise on toes and finally lift the knees.

Simple, huh? Well, it is for me and now I can’t imagine starting my day without this regimen. On the few occasions that I do miss I can tell it by early afternoon. My back starts to ache and I don’t have my usual energy level...and all of this just because I didn’t devote a few minutes of my precious time to doing what’s good for me!

I’ve checked with physical therapists and they all agree that a “soft” exercise plan like this would be good for anyone, even if you are recovering from an injury or out of shape in general. Any good Tai Chi book will describe the exercises in detail, usually done 12 times per sequence, and you’ll be on your way.

GOOD LUCK and believe me, if I can do it you can too!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That really does sound simple enough for me to follow. Can you recommend a good book to purchase? Thanks!

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A good routine and the key, sticking with it, accomplished!

9:34 AM  
Blogger Ginnie said...

Laurie: The book I have is published by Simon & Schuster and is called "Step-by-Step Tai Chi", by Master Lam Kam Chuen ... subtitled "The Natural Way to Strength and Health". It's wonderfully illustrated and very easy to follow. Ginnie

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips Ginnie! I have a hard time sticking with exercise. I have a Tai Chi dvd that I've not tried yet - You've encouraged me to give it a shot!!

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quite interesting. I tried a few Tai Chi lessons a few years ago but never caught on.
What I do to avoid the rising pains ;) is Feldenkrais movements that I do for ten minutes every morning when I am still in bed. This sort of lubricates my joints and I experience less pain in the mornings. Can't say that getting up is pain-free, especially when it's wet outside, but it does help

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ginnie: I am delurking here to say I enjoy reading your blog. I also, love to curl up with a book.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted you to know that "Fire Dance" was written about a particular night I spent alone at camp some years ago..It was exhilerating and is a favorite memory.

Thanks for your kind and understanding words, always.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ginnie,
I've been a bit out of the loop. I'm experimenting with living more and blogging less. Right now it's a bit of a strain, but I'll see what happens.

I'm so glad that you published this post. I've often wanted to ask you about your exercise routine. I am out of shape, and am quickly becoming the fat, flubbery book reader in the chair. I used to study Tai Chi regularly. Now I just drive instead.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Ginnie! I just ordered it on Amazon and it should be here next week.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, this really does sound simple but not only simple, I can easily see the benefit. All that stretching and moving. AND you've sold me....I see you've put the name of the book here and I'm off to Amazon to get it. I walk almost on a daily basis, however, I also know that this stretching of the bones and muscles is a must. SO thanks, Ginnie!

9:54 AM  

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