GUIDE TO GETTING FITTER
Your Host Amjad Mahmood MD
At Home Lots of people prefer to exercise at home. Its private and theres no need to get a babysitter or travel anywhere. You might get more out of it if you go to a class first and learn how to do the exercises properly.
EXERCISING FOR SUPPLENESS
Here are six simple stretching exercises. Do them at
least three times a week and you will begin to feel your body becoming more supple and
relaxed. You should also do them to warm up before starting or, anything more vigorous.
ARM CIRCLING This is to maintain suppleness in your shoulders.
Stand tall and relaxed with your arms at your sides.
Slowly circle your right shoulder backwards. Repeat with your left shoulder and continue
on an alternate sides
FORWARD BENDING This is to stretch the muscles in your shoulders, trunk and legs.
Stand tall and relaxed stretching through your whole
body, reach up towards the ceiling with your fingertips. Then letting your self-bend at
the hips and the knees, slowly bring your hand down towards the floor, as far as is
comfortable. Straighten up and repeat.
Stand tall and relaxed with your feet apart and
hands at your sides. Slowly bend to the left and right alternately allowing your hands to
slide down the sides of your legs. Stand tall in between bends. Keep your legs straight.
Make sure your are bending to the side and not letting your shoulders drop forwards. Move
only as for as you can comfortably and return to the upright position. Dont bounce
into the movement.
Stand tall and relaxed with your weight on your left
leg rest your left hand on the back of a chair for support if necessary. Now swing your
right leg forwards and backwards in a relaxed, pendulum action. Gradually take your leg as
high as you comfortably can, keeping your body fairly upright and letting your right knee
bend. Repeat with your left leg.
Stand facing wall at arm length from it. Place your
hands on the wall for support and stretch your right leg out straight behind you with the
ball of your foot on the floor, and your toes pointing towards the wall. Gently push your
right heel towards the floor, allowing your left leg to bend as necessary.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and your knees as near to the floor as is comfortable. Place your hands on top of your thighs. Slowly and smoothly slide your hand down your legs as far as you can comfortably reach. Return to the upright position and repeat. Do not bounce into the movement.
EXERCISING FOR STRENGTH
Not necessarily for bulging biceps but to keep your
muscles toned up enough to meet the more strenuous demands of daily life. You need strong
arms for pushing. Pulling and lifting. Strong stomach muscles are important for good
posture and avoiding back pain. And you need strong legs for many things including getting
out of armchairs and baths, climbing stairs and running. Its especially important
for older people to maintain their strength in order to keep active and independent. Try
to do these strength exercises every day or at least twice a week. Dont push
yourself too hard to start with. Build up gently and gradually to about 20 repeats.
These exercises strengthen mostly upper arms, shoulders and chest. Stands at arms length from a wall. Place your hands shoulder width apart on the wall. Now bend your arms until your forehead touches the wall. Then push yourself away again until your arms are straight.
Kneel on all fours. Move your hand forward slightly
and take most of your weight onto them. Bend your arms and lower the top half of your body
towards the floor. Only go as far as is comfortable, and be careful not to sag in the
middle. Straighten your arms again and return to the starting position.
Weak muscles in the stomach and back put extra strain on your spine. These exercises will help to strengthen your stomach muscles, flatten any bulges and improve your posture.
As an alternative you can do this exercise lying on your back with your feet and lower legs on the seat of a chair.
These strengthen the muscles in your back, Lie on your stomach on the floor, with your arms at your sides, your shoulders relaxed. And your head on one side. Slowly lift your head, neck and shoulders away from the floor turning your head so you are looking at the floor with your chin tucked. Only go as for as is comfortable. Slowly relax down turning your head to the other side and repeat.
These strengthen your hips and back, lie on your
stomach on the floor. Slowly lift your right leg away from the floor, as far as it
comfortable does. Slowly relax down and repeat with the other leg. As an alternative,
start on all fours and slowly stretch one leg. Back. Repeat with the other leg.
These leg exercises will help you tone up and strengthen your thighs, calves and bottom. They are particularly important for older people.
Sit on a firm kitchen chair, stand up without using your hands and without leaning forward too much, if you can. Make sure your legs straighten completely. Sit down again and repeat. Gradually progress to just touching the chair instead of sitting down each time.
Stand at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Step up
onto the first step making sure you straighten both legs. Step down again. Do this with
HOME EXERCISE MACHINES.
Some people find these useful for building up strength and stamina but they can be very expensive and are not really necessary. Try one out at a sports center and ask for advice before buying.
STATIONARY BIKES are especially good if you are overweight, because they take your weight. The exercise value is the same as cycling. Look for a bike with an adjustable saddle and handlebars, and adjustable resistance on the pedals so that you can choose how hard to push. Some cheaper model wont have these features. So be careful in your choice.
ROWING MACHINES are good for stamina, and leg back and shoulder strength. They are not good if you have a bad back. Like stationary bikes, good ones may be very expensive.
Chest expanders and other gadgets can increase your strength, if you use them regularly. But straining too much could raise your blood pressure.
EXERCISING FOR STAMINA
You can build up your stamina at home by skipping with a rope, running or jumping on the spot, or going up and down stairs. You could also try using a home exercise machine.