Posts Tagged ‘exercise routine’

Tai Chi – Low Impact Exercises

Tai Chi is a popular mind and body exercise that traces its roots to Ancient China. It is a low impact activity that is aimed at promoting a person’s well being regardless of age and general health condition.

Tai Chi includes a variety of slow, gentle movements. It improves breathing, promotes better circulation and is a great way of relieving stress. Practitioners believe that Tai Chi improves the flow of energy in the body, restoring the body’s natural equilibrium and providing relief to many ailments.

Opening Position

  • Stand erect, maintaining proper posture and spine alignment
  • Spread your feet apart, and point both feet at 12 o’clock
  • Relax, drop your shoulders and let your fingers hang loose
  • Curve your hands and palms facing the sides of your body
  • Bent your knees slightly

Awaken the Chi: Warm-up Exercise

Benefits: breathing exercise, stress reduction

  • Opening position
  • Bring your hands in front of your body, with your hands slightly touching and palms facing outward, about two inches below your belly
  • Breathe in, and raise your hands upward to your breast level with the palms of your hands still facing skyward all in one continuous motion
  • Breathe out; lower your hands in a pushing movement. Synchronize releasing the air and lowering your hands with the palm of your hands facing downward.
  • Repeat the cycle 6 to 8 times and return to opening position

Balancing the Chi

Benefits: relieves anxiety, strengthens back muscles

  • Opening position
  • Bring hands in front with palms facing skyward, with the tips of your hands around two inches apart. Position your arms at the hip levels.
  • Breathe in, raise your heels and bring arms to chest level
  • Breathe out, lower hands in a gentle pushing movement. Turn your palms facing to the ground and plant heels on the ground
  • Repeat movements 6 to 8 times and return to opening position

Beautiful Woman Turns the Waist

Benefits: Loosens tight muscles, strengthens back, improves kidney function

  • Opening position
  • Clockwise
  • Position your hands at the back, with the palm of your hands pressing at your kidney area
  • Straighten knees
  • Push left hip out to left bend upper torso slightly right
  • Push hips forward and allow upper body to bend backwards slightly
  • Push right hip out to right and bend body slightly left
  • Push bottom backwards and allow body to bend forward slightly
  • Repeat movements 6 to 8 times and return to opening position
  • Counterclockwise
  • Push right hip out to right and bend body slightly left
  • Push hips forward and allow upper body to bend backwards slightly
  • Push left hip out to left bend upper torso slightly right
  • Push bottom backwards and allow body to bend forward slightly
  • Repeat cycle 6 to 8 times and return to opening position

Cloud Hands

Benefits: Improves coordination, strengthens back muscles, relieves neck tension, stress relief and enhances mind functioning

  • Breathe in, turn your left arm towards the center chest area at shoulder level with the palm of your hands facing your body
  • Drop right arm in line with your body and palm facing the side of your body
  • Transfer your weight to your left leg
  • Lock legs and turn body from your waist
  • Turn left
  • Let your arm follow the body’s side movement
  • Drop left arm in line with your body and palm facing the side of your body
  • Position your right arm over the center chest area at shoulder level with right  palm facing your chest
  • Return to center from left
  • Breathe out
  • Transfer weight to center
  • Transfer your weight to your right leg
  • Lock legs and turn body from your waist
  • Turn right
  • Let your arm follow the body’s side movement
  • Drop right arm in line with your body and palm facing the side of your body
  • Position your left arm over the center chest area at shoulder level with right  palm facing your chest
  • Return to center from right
  • Breathe out
  • Transfer weight to center
  • Repeat exercise 6 to 8 times and return to opening position

Yoga – For a Healthier You


Yoga is fast becoming one of the most popular relaxation exercises. Yoga techniques include physical postures, body and mind discipline, breathing control and meditation. Allowing cancer patients to do simple yoga meditation exercises can help reduce stress and condition their minds for cancer treatments. Below are some of the benefits of practicing Yoga:

  • Promotes sleep
  • Reduces stress
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves breathing
  • Gives patient a sense of well-being
  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Enhances blood circulation
  • Strengthens muscles

Basic Yoga Techniques

Pranayamas are yoga breathing exercises designed to eliminate impurities in the body and improve the mind. All exercises must be performed while sitting with eyes closed. All breathing must be done with the tongue’s tip touching the mouth’s roof.

Deerga Swasam: Complete Breath

This is a type of breathing exercise which promotes proper breathing technique. Breathe slowly and deep thru the nose with the tongue’s tip touching the mouth’s roof. Direct the air to your diaphragm and slowly fill your stomach with air. Inhale until chest area is completely filled with air. Gently lift your shoulders as you slowly feel the air filling your lungs. Exhaling, pull your stomach in as deeply as possible while releasing the air. Relax all chest, shoulder and chest muscles as you expel air thru your nose. Total duration for each exercise should take 1 minute, 30 seconds to inhale and 30 seconds for exhaling.

Brahmari: Humming Bee

This breathing exercise teaches how to properly control exhaling and reduce stress. Students are instructed to enter a meditative state before each exercise and instructed to reduce their pace of breathing.  Perform complete breath exercise and produce a humming sound as you exhale slowly. Listen carefully to the pitch and tone of the hum produced and continue to perform the exercise until a pleasant sound is produced.

Kapalabhati: Skull Shining
Kapalabhati is a relatively simple breathing exercise. It is based on the lungs natural property to fill itself with air when open. This breathing exercise doesn’t focus on breathing but on moving your diaphragm. Abdominal muscles are used to move the diaphragm while you concentrate on keeping your lungs open. The diaphragm controls the movement of air in the lungs. Pushing the diaphragm up forces the air in the lungs to be expelled (exhalation), relaxing the diaphragm increases lung volume forcing air to be pushed in back to the lungs (inhalation). This breathing exercise is required prior to performing Bastrika.

Bastrika: Bellows

Practice rapid breathing movements similar to those in Kapalahati. Perform these movements as fast as possible with emphasis on more forceful exhalation. Perform inhalation slowly and hold breath for a few seconds. While holding your breath, lean forward to press your chin to your chest as far as possible. Gently raise your head as you exhale thru the nose.

Anuloma Viloma: Opposite Nostril Breathing
Anuloma Viloma is a breathing exercise that aims to improve air movement thru nasal passages. It also promotes a smoother and slower movement of air while both nasal passages are equally trained. The breathing exercise also increases the amount of air that could pass thru to the lungs. Anuloma Viloma decreases and eliminates snoring and prevents sinus clogging.

First perform Kapalabhati or Bastrika to prepare body for a lesser oxygen supplies. Mild oxygen levels maybe experienced as covering one nostril constricts the flow of oxygen to the body. Perform the Vishnu mudra. Fold the first and middle fingers into the palm, taking note to keep the pinky, thumb, ring fingers straight. Perform complete breath technique thru both nostrils. Cover one nostril by using the pinky and ring fingers and exhale using the other nostril.

Still covering the other nostril, inhale thru the nostril which you just exhaled thru. Cover this nostril and exhale thru the nostril which was previously covered. Alternate nostrils and perform the exercise for about 10 minutes.

Five Minute Fixes to Boost Health and Wellness


Tired of feeling like the path to health and wellness is a long, drawn out path? Then start small! Use these quick five minute fixes to boost your health and to reach your goals one step at a time!

• Wear a pedometer to determine the distance you walk each day. Shoot for 10,000 steps per day. If you aren’t reaching that goal, add an extra mile to your routine or take the steps instead of the escalator whenever possible.

• Add jumping to your exercise routine – also known as plyometric moves – to build muscle and improve your bone density. Try jump squats or scissor lunges in your next routine.

• Spend the extra money to purchase good work out necessities – clothing, shoes, bras, supports, etc. Purchasing the better brands versus going the cheaper route will ensure that you use them and that they are the best for your workout.

• Don’t spread germs. Always wipe down gym equipment before and after using them to protect yourself and others from germs and bacteria that can be passed from unclean gym equipment.

• Don’t be a creature of habit. Switch up your routines, walking routes, gym machines and even what days you do specific workouts. Change is good when it comes to exercise and fitness.

• Consider the other ways that you can lose weight without really trying – clean the house and burn 200 calories or work in the garden and burn 272 calories.

• Even if you have to travel or spend all day in a car or on a plane, still try to fit in physical activity. Take advantage of bathroom breaks by stretching and doing some light exercise. Walk briskly through the airport in between flights if traveling by plane.

• Build better bones and as much bone density as you can by doing weight-bearing activities like running or jumping as much as you can in your twenties and thirties.

• Yoga has many healthy benefits for your body and your mind. Even if you are a novice, take a class and try something different.

• Work out with your significant other or a friend or family member. This allows you to be a spotting partner for one another or just spend some quality time together working out.

Spruce Up Your Exercise Routine: What to Ditch to Make a Switch


Anytime is the perfect time to change up some of those old worn out items and routines that you’ve been hanging on to when it comes to your exercise lifestyle. Switching out even the most basic of equipment can reinvigorate and offer a fresh perspective when it comes to your workout regimen.

This is a handy list of “what to ditch” to make the exercise switch:

Get rid of that cheap pedometer. Instead buy a good $20 one that counts accurate steps, most cheap pedometers are highly inaccurate.

Ditch the old running shoes. Instead opt for a new pair and keep track of how much “mileage” you get out of them. Typically, if you run/walk 10 miles per week then shoes can last for 12 months (15 miles – 8 months, 20 miles – 6 months, 30 miles – 4 months).

Throw out the old cotton workout t-shirt. Instead invest in some shirts that are made of wicking fabrics. Wicking fabrics (like synthetics) do a better job of keeping you drier and cooler when you are exercising.

Toss the lightweight dumbbells. Instead try heavier dumbbells that are more challenging in your workout.

Spruce Up Your Exercise Routine: What to Get and What to Ditch for a Switch in Your Regimen


Now is the perfect time to change up some of those old worn-out items and routines that you have been stuck with for so long in exchange for a spruced up exercise routine. Changing things up not only keeps them fresh for you (which in turn helps you stick to them) but also benefits your body.

This is a handy list of “what to ditch” to make the exercise switch:

Get rid of that cheap pedometer- Instead buy a good $20 one that counts accurate steps; cheaper pedometers are highly inaccurate.

Ditch the old running shoes-
Instead opt for a new pair and keep track of how much “mileage” you get out of them. Typically if you run/walk 10 miles per week then shoes can last for 12 months (15 miles – 8 months, 20 miles – 6 months, 30 miles – 4 months).

Throw out the old cotton workout t-shirt- Instead invest in some shirts that are made of wicking fabrics. Wicking fabrics (like synthetics) do a better job of keeping you drier and cooler when you are exercising.

Get an exercise ball- According to fitnessmagazine.com, exercise balls are good for developing balance and stability while making it easier to target specific trouble spots. It may be hard to not roll off at first, but once you get the hang of it there are a number of exercises that you can do on a fitness ball including pushups, squats and sit-ups.

Toss the lightweight dumbbells- Instead try heavier dumbbells that are more challenging in your workout. Making small changes and gradual increases in weight may not seem like a big deal but will make a difference in the effectiveness of your workouts.

Try a resistance band- Work out your chest, biceps, triceps, abs, and shoulders better by using resistance bands. With their varying levels of resistance and their extreme versatility, resistance bands are suited to most fitness programs and people of most ages. They add resistance and challenge to a normal fitness routine.

Put on the Weight by Adding to Your Resistance Training

weight lifting help
Adding weight can be a good thing – if you are adding to your resistance training!

In an article on Medicinenet.com Richard Weil, an exercise physiologist and the director of the New York Obesity Research Center Weight Loss Program provided a thorough question and answer guide to those interested in or beginning a weight training regimen.

In the article, Weil explains what resistance exercise consists of as well as the benefits of an effective weight resistance program.

Resistance exercise is defined as any exercise where muscles contract against an external resistance with the objective of increasing strength, tone, mass, and/or muscular endurance. The resistance can come from dumbbells, weight machines, elastic tubing or bands, cinder blocks, cans of soup, your own body weight (for example, pushups), or any other object that forces your muscles to contract. Results occur when you train consistently over time.

The benefits of adding weights to your exercise routine includes improvement of muscular strength, endurance, functional capacity and ability, blood pressure, osteoporosis, low back pain, insulin resistance and glucose metabolism, resting metabolic rate and psychological well being.

Senior Workout - PowerAnd it’s never too late to start a resistance program either. In a classic study in a Boston nursing home, 100 residents ranging from 72 to 98 years of age performed resistance exercise three times a week for 10 weeks. Muscle strength increased 113%, walking speed increased by almost 12%, and thigh-muscle area increased 2.7%!

Although it may be intimidating to start, Weil provides some basic rules for properly lifting weights:

• Take your time and lift mindfully.
• Feel it in the belly of the muscle you’re trying to work and not in the joints.
• Select weights that your body can handle without having to cheat or force the weight up (leaning way back, using momentum, etc.).

Here are a couple starter weight lifting programs that Weil suggests. They are broken up by muscle group and are three days per week. You can experiment with splits, exercises, and the number of days per week. He suggests 12-15 repetitions and one to three sets per exercise for beginners (remember, you can gain significant strength with just one set). He’s included more than one exercise for each muscle group. You can stick with one exercise if you like, or experiment with more than one. Increase the weight when you can perform 15 reps easily. If you’re using elastic tubing, start with the tube that you can lift 12-15 times to fatigue, and then increase when you get stronger.

Day 1: Chest (bench press with bar or dumbbell press, flies, pushups), triceps (bench dips, kickbacks)

Day 2: Back (bent-over rows), biceps (curls, standing or seated)

Day 3: Shoulders (lateral raises, front raises), legs (squats, lunges)

Here’s a different split.

Day 1: Chest (bench press with bar or dumbbell press, flies, pushups), back (bent-over rows, pull-downs)

Day 2:
Biceps (curls, standing or seated), triceps (bench dips, kickbacks)

Day 3: Shoulders (lateral raises, front raises), legs (squats, lunges)

Resistance exercise is worth it. You’ll gain strength, endurance, and confidence. It’s feels great to feel strong, so give it a try! For more information and examples of resistance exercises that will help you to “put on the weight,” visit Medicinenet.com.