Seriously, how often have you watched an infomercial or commercial touting an exercise plan or device that can get you great results in “minutes a day”?
As we know, the lure of instant gratification always looms, and many things in our material universe are invented to appeal to that urge in all of us.
Yes, people are busy. So, there is something to the idea of giving people some quick things they can fit into their day to make things better for them.
What’s the Trick?
The trick is to be able to discern what is going to really help us versus something that is actually a WASTE of time.
In general, things that have you doing one thing over and over in order to “fix” a body part are a waste of time.
Why? A couple of reasons. One is that there is no “fixing” a body part by doing a motion for that part over and over. On top of that, there is no such thing as spot reducing. It’s a gigantic myth. The second thing is that our bodies are complex and each part relates to all the rest of the parts.
Just for fun, let me put an image in your head. Have you ever seen a baby doing leg lifts or crunches in order to get ready to walk? No! Babies use their whole bodies as they progress towards leaning to walk. Lifting the head, rolling over, scooching, crawling, pulling themselves up. Everything is about developing coordination.
We can take a lesson from that. Taking that a step further now that we are grown-ups, we can use that principle to help us feel better, prime our muscles to work together in good ways, and keep our metabolisms revved up a bit. That way, we won’t get sluggish or end up using fewer calories on a regular basis (see my Blog, “Does Fat Have a Mind of It’s Own”).
A Few Suggestions
Let me give you a few suggestions for keeping your body in good shape even though you may only have a few minutes. The main point here is to do a few movements that use lots of muscles at once, or complimentary motions that focus on several areas. You will see what I mean when you check these out.
- Work your balance. Stand tall, on one leg. Then place the lifted leg in various positions away from your center. Examples: hold it out to the front, then the back, keeping the knee fairly straight. Then bend your knee and lift the leg toward your chest so that you can grab it. Hold each of these three positions separately for as long as you can before you lose your balance. Do the other leg too. If you are feeling confident, and have something nearby to grab on to if needed, try closing your eyes as you balance. This kicks it up quite a bit!
- Keep your shoulders and hips flexible. For your shoulders: Swing your arms in large, flowing, arcs to the front and back, and then in front of your body and out to the side. Do 10 of both of these, increasing the size of the arc slightly each time if possible. To loosen up your hips: hang on to something with your left hand, and then come up on the toes of your left foot. Swing the right leg to the front and back 10 times. See if you can make the swing bigger as things loosen up. Do the other side in the same manner.
- Strengthen your upper body, lower body, and core. Here’s a great way to strengthen many parts of your body, all in a two moves. Do 10 squats, feet hip distance apart, and making sure your knees don’t come over your toes. Then find a wall, counter, or chair seat (chair is anchored) and do 10 push-ups. Make sure to keep your back straight and not collapsed or rounded as you do these. That will ensure that you are using your core.
You can do all of these together, or throw them in one at a time when you get a chance. “Minutes a day”. Awesome!
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