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Exercise, Does a Body Good

For your reading convenients below you will find all the Exercise, Does a Body Good published in 2017

April 2017

I would like to tell you a bit about my background so You know I have credibility in what I will be writing about.

I graduated from Saint Mary’s Campus of the college of Saint Catherine in Minneapolis, MN with an associate degree in Physical Therapy, and a certificate in massage therapy. I worked as both a physical and massage therapist for years. I specialized in sports, Thai, reflexology, and European therapy. I have extensive knowledge and experience in yoga, Pilates, and weightlifting.

The objective of my monthly article is to provide simple easy exercises that you can perform without using any exercise equipment. These exercises will do a variety of things such as minimize aches & pains, stretch, tone & tighten, and strengthen body parts to name a few.

I will also include a healthy tip each month.

In my first article, I will describe strengthening and stretching exercises you can do while sitting at your computer.

#1 Neck Bridging:
Slightly tuck your chin towards your chest and then press your head toward an imaginary wall. Hold this position for a count of 5 to 10. How many reps is up to you, but 10 to 15 is good. Remember to keep your chin bent toward your chest throughout the movement.

Adaptation: Interlock your fingers and place your hands behind your head. With your chin slightly tucked towards your chest, press your head back against your hands.

#2 For your upper back rhomboids area):
Imagine you have a quarter in the middle of your back, so you want to squeeze the quarter in place. Take your shoulder blades (scapula bones) and squeeze them together. Hold this squeeze for a count of 5 or 10, and again, do 10 to 15 reps.

#3 Stretching exercise for your upper back:
. Take your right hand and place it on your left shoulder.
Then take your left hand and grab your left elbow.
Use your left hand to stretch right arm towards your left shoulder.
Hold for a count of 5 to 10.
then reverse the hand position, so you can stretch your left arm.
Adaptation: For an elongated stretch, raise your arm (one with hand on shoulder) to shoulder height and stretch.

#4 For lower back:
Sit up straight in your chair.
Create an exaggerated arch in your back, then press your lower back into the back of the chair.
hold that pose for a count of 5 to 10, and do this 10 times. This will involve your abdominal muscles.

#5 For your calves:
While sitting with your feet hip width apart, raise your heels off the floor and onto your toes. Hold this position for a count of 5 to 10. How many repetitions you do is up to you, but 10 - 15 is good.

#6: For your Shins:
While sitting with your feet hip width apart, raise your toes. Hold this position for a count of 5 to 10. How many repetitions you do is up to you, but again, 10 - 15 is good.

Most doctors recommend drinking 8 (8ounces) glasses of water daily. Another popular method people use to determine how much water they should drink daily is:
Take your body weight and divide it in half. Then take that number and drink that much in ounces daily. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, then you would need to drink 75 ounces of water daily.

These are the exercises I recommend for people that sit for a long period of time. So, good luck and get moving!

May 2017

hello everyone and welcome back!
I received a message from Sylvia asking if I could suggest exercises that would help with improving one’s balance. Well Sylvia, and others, ask and you shall receive. Balance is the focus of this month’s article.

When either our vision, or hearing becomes compromise, so does our balance. So, to combat imbalance issues I have come up with 4 balance exercises that you can do in the comfort of your home or outside in your yard.

Getting Ready:
The only equipment you need are comfortable shoes such as tennis, running, or walking shoes. You can even perform these exercises barefooted if you wish. So please do not try doing these exercises in high heels.

In which room, should you do these exercises?
You can do these exercises in the kitchen, the bathroom, or the bedroom. Reason for the bathroom or kitchen is because most of these have countertops. Countertops, heavy duty chairs, a wall, or a fence will do, as these will help you maintain your balance.
The bedroom is another place to do balance exercises. you can use your bed, headboard, or dresser to regain your balance. Also, you can do these on carpeting, but not on throw rugs, get them out of your designated exercise area; as they can be a potential risk for injury.

Correct Standing Position
posture: Stand straight up, head is in neutral position (not looking up or looking down), just straight ahead. Shoulders back, tuck stomach in a little bit not a lot. Keep knees slightly bent, do not lock knees. Feet are hip width apart and pointed straight forward.

Exercise #1: Standing Tree
Assume the correct standing position (as indicated above).
Start with standing on your left foot (working leg) and your right foot (non-working leg) will rest on the inside of your left ankle
Arms and hands out to your sides at a 90-degree angle
Hold this position for 10 seconds or longer, then switch legs
How many repetitions you do is up to you, 5reps is a good starting point.
*If needed, use your support (countertop, wall, bed, etc.) to help maintain your balance
*When you feel like this is too easy, start in the standing position and move your non-working foot up to the inside knee of the working leg, and hold position for 10 seconds or longer, repeat with other leg

Exercise #2: Walking in place
Again, proper posture
Start with standing on your left foot, now swing right foot and leg forward and backward with your arms in motion like you are walking in place but getting no where
Do this not too fast or too slow, just at a comfortable rate of speed
Repeat while standing on your right leg
How many repetition can you do without losing your balance? Make a game out of it and challenge yourself.
Note: Be sure to use your support if needed

Exercise #3: Standing like a bird
In the movie Karate Kid, Ralph Macchio is standing like a stork in his final pose before he gave his final blow to his opponent, this is the pose I want you to be in..
Again, correct standing posture
Stand on your left foot and move your right leg with knee and hip flex at a 90-degree angle above the floor
Raise both arms at shoulder height and out to your sides
Repeat while standing on your right leg
Hold this position for a count of 10 or longer, or until you lose your balance.
Note: Remember to breathe, breathe in and out slowly.

Exercise #4: Walk the plank or the Sobriety test
This exercise has many names for it. It is basically heel to toe walk.
My recommendation would be to do this exercise where there is an empty wall or countertop, fence, or alongside of your bed.
Start with correct standing posture, breathe in and out slowly
Move right heel in front of left toes and then move left heel in front of right toes
Outstretch arms to the side, at shoulder height
How far you go is up to you. You will see many of these balance exercises in Tai Chi, and yoga.
Note: Remember proper standing posture, breathe, and be mindful of where your body is in space.

Balance tip of the month:
Walking is the number one balance exercise you can do for yourself. The more you walk the better your balance will be.

If you have any questions, comments, or certain topics you would like me to cover just email me at my address above.
So, good luck and get moving!!!

June 2017

Well summer is upon us in the northern hemisphere, and it is time to shed those extra layers of clothes and show some skin. So, we need to tone up those hips and leg muscles. And, for those of you in the southern hemisphere these exercises will help you to get fit and ready to show off your legs when the warm weather returns.

Below you will be introduced to four hip and leg exercises. You can do these exercises with your body weight, with dumbbells, or with resistance bands.

Exercise #1: Squats
In my opinion this is one of the best functional exercises you can do for yourself. We are constantly getting up from our chairs, couch, and toilet seat. And we are routinely squatting down to pick or lift up things. The stronger your hips and legs are the easier it is to get up from your sitting position.

Starting Position: Stand with feet hips width apart, stomach slightly contracted and tucked in, shoulders back, and head facing straight ahead, not looking down or up.

*With your hands at your sides, pretend you are going to sit down, and make sure you stick your butt out as you lower your hips to a sitting position
*Try to hold the sitting position for a few seconds before returning to the original standing position
Note: Remember to keep your knees soft or slightly bent, never lock your knees.
Repeat this exercise 15 to 25 reps, or whatever you can do.

Exercise #2: Step ups
This is another good functional exercise. We all need to climb stairs, so this is an excellent form of exercise to strengthen your hips, legs and heart muscles. This is a good cardiovascular exercise. So, let’s kill 2 birds with one stone.

I used to watch Jack Lalanne and he did this with a chair. I recommend not to do this; the chair is too high and unstable. I recommend using your stairs, an exercise platform if you have one, or a stable foot stool.

Assume the starting position as described above.
Using stairs:
*Start with your right foot and lift it up to either the first or second step. If climbing to the second step is too much, just go to the first step.
*Once your right foot is planted on that step, lift your left foot and knee up to your hip level and return left foot to the floor.
*Return your right foot back to the floor, and to the starting position.
Repeat it again for 15 reps and switch legs.
*Start with your left foot and lift it up to either the first or second step.
*Once your left foot is planted on that step, lift your right foot and knee up to your hip level and return right foot to the floor.
*Return your left foot back to the floor, and to the starting position.
Repeat it again for 15 reps
Notes: You can do this all on right side for 15 reps and then left side for 15 reps, or you can alternate legs. Up with the right foot and down for one rep, then change to your left foot for one rep, and continue in this manner.
A good reason I prefer to use the stairs, is because there is a railing should you need it to help with balance.

Exercise #3: Bridging
Ladies if you want buns of steel, I recommend you do this exercise.
Get Ready: Get on the floor and lay on your back. I recommend using an exercise mat or carpeting to do this exercise. You can do this on a hardwood floor, but it will be a bit uncomfortable. Your choice.

Starting Position: While on your back have your feet flat on the floor and hip width apart, both knees bent at 90 degrees, abdomen slightly contracted or tight, and head facing straight towards the ceiling, and your arms to your side, with hands flat on the floor.

*Simply lift your butt off the floor and hold for a count of 5
*Return to starting position and repeat for 25 reps
You can have fun with bridging, because you can lift your butt off the floor and hold for one minute and then do 15 reps.

Advanced Bridging: One legged bridging
*Starting Position: Left foot flat on the floor with left knee bent at 90 degrees, right leg straight and about 3 inches off the floor
*Lift your butt off the floor for a count of 2, and do 15 reps
Repeat with your left leg slightly off the floor
So, go for the burn!

Exercise #4: Wall Squats
You will need an empty wall for this exercise.
Starting Position: Your head and back should be flat against the wall, stomach slightly tucked in, knees slightly bent, feet hip width apart, and about 2 feet out from the wall, and hands at your sides.
*Slide your upper torso and butt down the wall to a sitting position and hold for 30 seconds or 1 minute
*Slide back up to the original position
Note: This is a form of isometric exercise, meaning no joint movements.
If you do these 4 exercises, I guarantee you will see results, stronger hips and legs, and better posture.

Health Tip:
Aerobics/cardiovascular exercise burn calories, whereas resistant or weight training burns fat. So, I recommend combining cardio and resistant training to lose weight and bodyfat.

You know those infomercials that sell you those exercise contraptions or videos? Well I would love to hear your success or horror stories. Was it a good product or was it a waste of time and money? Email me at my address above.
Good luck and get moving!!!

July 2017

Let’s do the plank
Why should people do planks, because it is a good core exercise.
What body parts are involved in core exercise, the shoulders, arms, chest, abdomen, back, hips and legs.
Planking improves strength, better posture, and less lower back pain.
Planking is a form of isometric exercise, meaning no joint movement.
There are 2 ways of planking, push up planking and forearm planking. The difference between the 2 is push up planking involves more work with the shoulders and triceps. While the forearm planking works more core muscles, such as chest, abdomen, back and hips.

Exercise 1. Push up Planks:
How to do a push up plank: Well let’s start on the floor in the top position of a push up, with chest, stomach, hips, and knees off the floor. Your head should be in the neutral position, meaning in line with your back. Your hands slightly shoulder width apart, elbows slightly bent (never lock your elbows), and slightly tuck in your stomach to contract your abdomen muscles. When you contract your abdomen muscles, you are protecting your lower back. Place your feet hip width apart and up onto your toes.
Keep your legs, hips, and chest in good alignment. Do not let your lower back sag.
Hold for a count of 30 seconds or longer. Try to challenge yourself by after feeling comfortable with the 30 second hold, increase the hold time. Continue to increase the hold time until you get and maintain your goal of, say two minutes.

Exercise 2. Forearm planks:
How to do a forearm plank: Start by lying face down on your stomach, your head should be in the neutral position. Your hands, forearms, and elbows should be on the floor, shoulder width apart. Tuck in your Stomach muscles. Feet and toes should be hip width apart.
Now lift your chest, stomach, hips, and knees off the ground, and hold for 30 seconds.
Remember the forearm plank will work more your core, and less your shoulder and tricep muscles.

Exercise 3. Reverse planks, or as I like to call it; Table Top Planks:
Why do I call it a table top, because you will look like one. When you work the front of the body, you will also need to work the back of the body. Table top planks work the shoulders, triceps, gluteus, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Women will find this one easier to do, because they are usually more flexible. Men, guess what? This one will be more challenging due to lack of flexibility in this position. Don't worry guys it gets easier, the more you do this exercise, the easier it will get.

Starting Position: Sit on your butt with legs outstretched in front of you. Place your hands on the floor with fingers pointing to your feet and shoulder width apart. Your feet should be hip width apart.
Slide your feet towards your butt, until your knees are bent at a 90- degree angle. Then using your arms and legs lift your butt off the floor. Try to keep your core parallel to the ground, making the “table top.”
Hold for 30 seconds and say “I am a table top.” If you can only get your butt off the floor about 6 inches or less, no worries, hold it for 30 seconds. The more you practice this exercise, the easier it will be, and the higher you will get your butt off the floor.

There are a variety of planking exercises. I can find 15 to 20different ways to plank. If you like planking, let me know and I will write up more planking exercises for August.

I received an email from Christian asking about the Simply Fit Board. I have never used one, and never heard of the exercise equipment. Christian was asking how to use the board, since the video tape was not very descriptive. So, I typed “getting started with my simply fit board”, and received a good descriptive video and audio. I recommend that Christian watch this video or listen to it. I thought it was very descriptive, and think this is a very good piece of exercise equipment. This board will work your balance, your core muscles, back, hips, and knees.
This board reminds me of the saucer I used to go sledding on. You can do planking, squats, and push ups on this board. Good luck Christian, I hope this helps.

Health Tip: As with any exercise routine, it is advisable to consult your physician before beginning.

Ok fitness fans that is it for this month, so let’s exercise a body good!

August 2017

Welcome back to Exercise Does a Body Good. I received a few emails for more planking, so I have come up with four more planking exercises. Also, the Health Tip for this month is on heart rate for fat burning, interval training, and aerobic/cardiovascular training.

Exercise #1: Planking jacks.
Planking jacks is similar to jumping jacks, except you are in the push- up planking position. You are probably wondering how do you do a jumping jack in a push-up plank position.
Starting position: Push-up plank. Hand shoulder width apart, with fingers extended straight out. Arms and elbows straight, chest, hips, and knees off the ground, with your feet hip width apart.
Keep your hands still while you jump your feet apart, and then jump them back together again. Continue these movements for 30 seconds, or longer.
Note: When doing this exercise, you are killing two birds with 1 stone. You are incorporating cardiovascular conditioning with core conditioning.

Exercise #2: Reverse Plank, called the slide.
Remember what is good for the front of the body, is good for the back of the body. I called this the slide plank because it looks like you are a slide on a playground.
Starting position: Hands on the floor, with fingers pointing towards your feet. Arms and elbows straight, and shoulder width apart. Feet are hips width apart, and they can be planted on the floor, or resting on your heels with toes pointing straight up.
Using your arms, raise your body off the ground, so the only body parts on the floor are your hands and feet. Hold this position for 30 seconds or longer.
Note: This slide plank works the following muscles; triceps, shoulders, upper back, hips, and hamstrings.

Exercise #3: Side Plank in forearm planking position.
This is a plank that you will perform while on your side.
Starting position: Start on your right side, leaning on your right elbow, with your forearm, hand, and fingers pointing towards the right. Your body should be in a straight side lying position. you can either stack your left foot on top of your right foot, or you can put your left foot in front of your right foot.
Once in this position, lift your hips and upper body off the floor and hold for 30 seconds or longer. Turn on to your left side, and repeat the same movement.
Note: The Side plank works your shoulder muscles, your external oblique’s, and your hips. This exercise will challenge your balance, so good luck with this one.

Exercise #4: Bird Dog Plank.
This is called a bird dog plank because you will look like a dog hunting for his hunter’s bird and pointing.
Starting position: Get on all fours. Hands shoulder width apart with Fingers pointing straight ahead, and elbows and arm straight. Knees bent at a 90-degree angle and hip width apart. Head in the neutral position, aligned with your neck and back, not looking up. This is the dog position, woof woof.
Lift your right hand and left foot up off the floor. Your right hand should point straight ahead, at that “bird”. Your left foot and leg will be off the floor and pointing towards the back of your body. Hold this position for a count of 2, and reverse position; Lift and hold left hand and right foot off the ground for a count of 2. Do this for 30 seconds, alternating right hand, left foot and then left hand, right foot. Good luck bird do watchers.
Note: Again, the side and bird dog plank will kill 2 birds with one stone. They will work your core muscles, and your balance.

Health Tips for this month: Formula for measuring your heart rate.
Subtract your age from 220. For example, if you are forty years old, subtract it from 220 to get 180. This number is your maximum heart rate.
For fat burning aerobic training, it is recommended to maintain a heart rate at 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. Therefore, in this case, 108 heart beats per minute. Would be the goal.
For interval aerobic training, you want to increase and decrease your heart rate over a period of time, say 30 minutes. you would train at 60% of your maximum heart rate, for a period of 3 minutes, for example. Then you would increase your heart rate to 80 percent for the next three minutes. you would work at 60% or 104 heart beats per minute for 3 minutes, and then work at 80% or 144 heart beats per minute, throughout the total time period.

For aerobic/cardiovascular training, it is recommended to train at 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. Again, using this example, 144 heart beats per minute would be your goal.

So, good luck, and get moving!

September 2017

Welcome back to exercise does a body good!
I am sure all you fitness geeks have had your fill of planking. So, this month I am focusing on strengthening your shoulders and arms.
Below I discuss the front, side, and back of the shoulders.
Note: Anterior deltoids, medial deltoids, and posterior deltoids
In addition, I discuss the front and back of the upper arms.
Note: Bicep and tricep muscles

When working the shoulders, you need to work all 3 shoulder head muscles. You need to keep the shoulder muscles in balance. For example, if you just work the front and side shoulder muscles, and neglect the back shoulder muscles, you risk injuries, such as tendonitis or rotator cuff issues.
So, what is good for the front shoulder muscle is good for the back shoulder muscle, and what is good for the front and back shoulder muscles is good for the side shoulder muscle.

Exercise # 1: Front Shoulder Raise.
The front shoulder raise works the anterior deltoid muscle, which is located in the front of the shoulder.
You can perform these exercises either standing or sitting.
Note: Used dumbbells, a can good, or a resistance band when exerting the shoulders.
Starting Position: Arms position at your sides, palms facing down, feet flat on the floor hip width apart, and either stand or sit up nice and tall.
Raise both arms up in front of you at shoulder level, and then back to starting position.
Repeat 15 times, and do 2 to 3 sets.

Exercise #2: Side, Lateral Shoulder Raise.
This works the medial deltoid muscle, which is located on the side of the shoulder.
Starting Position: same as above; standing or sitting.
Raise both arms up and out to your sides, and up to shoulder level, then back to original position.
Note: If you are doing this correctly, you will look like the letter T.
Again, do 2 to 3 sets of 15.

Exercise #3: Rear Shoulder Raise.
This exercise works the posterior deltoid muscle, which is located in the back of the shoulder.
Starting Position: this exercise may be more comfortable in a standing position. Stand with feet flat on the floor hip width apart, and knees slightly bent. Bend your upper body forward, about 45 degrees. With palms facing each other, and arms hanging in front of you towards the floor, slightly bend your elbows.
Raise both arms up and out in front of you, and at shoulder level, then back to beginning position.
Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

Exercise #4: Military Press.
This works all 3 shoulder heads muscle, the anterior, medial, and posterior deltoid muscle.
Starting Position: Again, either sitting or standing, move your arms out to the side, elbows bent at 90 degrees, and upper arms just below shoulder level.
Pretend you are holding a barbell in your hands, with palms facing away from you and at eye level. Push both arms up and extend them so they are straight up in the air; like a ref signaling a touchdown in football. Then lower back down and repeat.
Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

Exercise #5: Bicep Curls.
This exercise obviously works the biceps, which are located in the front of the upper arm.
Starting Position: same as previous exercises; standing or sitting Bend your elbows and raise your hands up to your shoulders, then back to starting position.
When performing bicep curls, you can work the biceps simultaneously or alternate them, moving the left, and then the right.
Note: You can hold dumbbells or can goods in each hand for an added workout.
Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

Exercise #6: Tricep Kickback.
And, this exercise obviously works the triceps, which are located in the back of the upper arm.
Starting position: this may be easier to do while standing. Stand with feet flat on the floor, hip width apart and knees slightly bent. Bend upper body slightly forward and tuck both arms close to your sides.
Keeping forearms straight and parallel with the floor move your arms down and straight back as far as you can go, without causing a strain. You should feel a pull in your tricep if you are doing it correctly. Then return to starting position and repeat.
Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
Men if you want big guns, you need to go heavy; working both bicep and tricep.
Women who want to tone up that flabby back area of the upper arm, you need to attack the tricep muscle.

Health Tip:
I received an email from a reader complaining of tendonitis in their hand and wrist. Tendonitis is an overuse injury. These types of overuse injury cause inflammation in the tendon, which connects to the bones and muscles.
The treatment for tendonitis is friction massage and ice therapy. The way to do friction massage is to use your finger or thumb and apply pressure across the belly of the muscle. Apply this constant pressure back and forth for five minutes, or more. The amount of pressure you apply should be enough to feel it, but not to cause pain.
After the friction massage, then it’s time for ice therapy. Take an ice cube and massage the area until it numb. Yes, I know everyone hates cold therapy, but it works. It cuts down the inflammation, and that will help ease the pain.
Well, keep the emails coming and exercise a body good!