Saturday, April 3, 2010

3 Unique Slow Exercises to Shape Up for Spring (slow and deliberate movements may be better for your body!).

Hi there!

It's me Svetlana.

You aready know that I always advocate exercises that are not too harsh on the body, and don't leave you in pain. Exercise routine has to be easy enough and enjoyable in order to stick to it for years. Some people love pain, but especially as we grow older, gentle approach to exercise is important. If we are used to work out really hard at younger age, the body may be worn out to some degree and not be able to cope with the same stress on joints, muscles, and bones anymore, and we may quit because of the repetitive injuries.

The key is to remain physically active FOR LIFE, and preferrably, for a very LONG LIFE. Thus take it easy, respect your body, and your body will serve you for many years to come.

The same thing applies to new exercisers who are trying to become habitual exercisers. As I discussed in a great details in the previous series of posts called "Fitness for lazy and frugal", one has to start low and advance slow. Slow does not man ineffective. Any exercise is better than nothing, but overdoing it (especially at the beginning) is a sure way to get hurt, discouraged, and to quit.

Read this article by Dr. Mao which I found on line in Yahoo health section about the benefits of unique slow exercises, and you may be surprized. By the way, this is not the first time I learn about a great benefit of slow and easy exercises. There was a program on TV featuring John Gray, an author of the famous Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (published in May 1992). John travelled around the globe collecting exercises and calisthenics routines of simple people around the world. At the end he was fascinated with the fact that no cultures, except the Western culture, uses sweat-producing, joing-breaking exercises to stay happy and active. In fact, almost all the cultures of the third world follow a slow, easy, enjoyable routines to stay healthy and to remain active. Well, read the article and decide for yourself.

"America’s rapidly expanding waistline has become a huge concern in the past decade. Today, eight out of ten adults are overweight and some 40 million people are considered obese. It’s not hard to see why: We eat foods that contain tightly-packed calories in smaller packaged and don’t engage in enough physical activity. Here are 3 unique and easy exercises that will get you in shape this spring!

You have to move to lose weight

The number one cause of being overweight is inactivity. The human body is designed for physical activity. Our ancestors were hunter-gatherers who spent most of their lives on the move; their metabolic functions matched their physical lifestyle. Nowadays, we live in opposition to our nature. The reason most diets fail is because our bodies are not designed to subsist on meager foods. We are designed to consume a good amount of energy -- and then to burn that energy. Physical activity is the key to a healthy metabolism.

Physical activity does not necessarily mean abrupt, fast-paced and forceful exercise. What if I told you that gentle, slower, and deliberate movements are just as beneficial for your health? Unique to China are the gentler kind of movement arts that promote energy, balance of function, and a calm mind. I call them mind-body exercises, and they include tai chi, qigong, and Dao In yoga. Many recent studies have confirmed that these mind-body exercises help balance blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol, equilibrium, and other organ functions. Mind-body exercise works through a system of energy communication within the body. By deliberately activating the flow of energy and removing blockages, communication is restored and organ functions return to their optimal level. You can learn these mind-body exercises with a teacher or from instructional DVDs.

Taken from a tradition that is thousands of years old, here are three qigong exercises that target your weight and get you in shape. The qigong exercises from this article are adapted from my book Secrets of Self-Healing, where you can find many more exercises to benefit a variety of health conditions.

Exercise 1: Swimming Dragon speeds up your metabolism

This simple qigong exercise can help speed up your metabolism and reduce your appetite. Not unlike a belly dance, Swimming Dragon is a wriggling rhythmic dance of the torso, which burns energy and promotes fat burning in the abdomen.

1. In a comfortable, quiet place stand with your feet together and ankles touching, or as close together as you can get them. Bring hands over your head, with palms together and fingers pointing up. Keep your palms together during this entire exercise.

2. Inhaling, push your waist out to the right side while keeping your head and upper torso straight. Simultaneously move your right elbow to the right, so that it rests at shoulder height.

3. Exhaling, push your waist out to the left side while keeping your head and upper torso straight. Simultaneously move your left elbow fully to the left at shoulder height.

4. Repeat this movement several times. Every time you move your waist to the right, bend your knees slightly more, lowering your entire body as you squat. Be sure to keep your upper torso and head straight.

5. With each right movement, move your hands lower, keeping your palms together and fingers pointing up. When your arms reach your chest, turn your fingers toward the ground and continue the movement.

6. When your arms reach your knees, you should be squatting.

7. Continue the movements, now rising with each right movement until you reach the standing position. When your arms reach your chest, switch the direction of your fingers so that they’re pointing up again.

Throughout this exercise, your hands should produce an S-shaped movement and your body should do a rhythmic belly dance. Remember to inhale on the rightward movement and exhale to the left. Only do this exercise on an empty stomach. Begin slowly and increase speed, warming up the whole body, but not to the point of perspiration.

For another way to promote weight loss, look to Chinese herbs. B-Slim is blended from specially selected Chinese herbs whose qualities are said to control appetite and craving, eliminate bloating, improve digestion, increase fat metabolism, regulate blood sugar, gently relieve constipation and balance the body.

Exercise 2: Arm Swing

Energy exercises like tai chi and Eight Treasures Qigong have been found to improve cardiovascular health. Here is the Arm Swing, a warm-up movement to tai chi that will invigorate your daily workout.

1. Start with your feet should-width apart. Freely swing your arms from front to back until you reach a point of natural resistance. Now let your arms swing to the front again.

2. After a couple of minutes of arm swinging, increase the work out by bending your knees and lifting your heels as your arms swing back and forth.

3. Increase your work out further by jumping off the ground as your arms swing back as though the momentum of your arms carries your body upward. Jump progressively higher each time. Swing your arms for 15 minutes. Gradually slow down and stop. Perform this exercise twice each day.

Exercise 3: Merry-Go-Around

With a daily practice of Qi Gong exercises like the Eight Treasures you can strengthen your hormonal system, help balance your blood sugar levels, and maintain your proper weight. Below I describe a simple walking exercise called “Merry-Go-Around”.

1. In a quiet outdoor setting find a thick-trunked tree (10 - 12” diameter) with at least 5 feet of clear space around the trunk in all directions. Perform the following walking exercise for 15 minutes.

2. Walk with a relaxed but steady gait, with hands raised to your trunk. With each completed circle change the position of your arms by slightly raising or lowering your hands in front or on the sides of your trunk.

3. For the first half of the exercise walk clockwise around the tree. For the second half, walk counterclockwise.

Do the Merry-Go-Around twice each day.

How often should you exercise?

From my clinical experience and research, I am convinced that it is best for all-around health to exercise 4 or more times per week, for 30 minutes each time. Even a brisk walk around your neighborhood, or the merry-go-round circle walking described above can have a wonderful effect on your energy metabolism and help you get back into shape.

For a supplement that supports sustainable energy for an active lifestyle, I suggest High Performance, a combination of unique Chinese food herbs, exotic seeds and wholesome grains, providing a rich source of complex carbohydrates.

I hope this article helps you get active! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

—Dr. Mao".

Maybe there is something about it! I will try the "swimming dragon today"!

So long.

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