By Juliane Morris
If exercise is a bad word to your ears, you’re not alone. Where some people smile at the thought of a gym membership, a solo run on a sunny winter day or using circuit training equipment in their basement, other people just don’t get those warm fuzzies—at all.
Yet, research continues to compile the risks of eating too much or too poorly, and exercising too little. With exercise, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cognitive decline can be helped, delayed or possibly prevented. Can effective exercise happen for the most inertia-seated, exercise-repulsed, couch potato? Yes!
The CDC minimum recommended physical activity changed from “20 minutes of vigorous activity three days per week” to “30 minutes of moderate activity five or more days per week.” Movements as simple as standing and stretching add deposits to your health bank for well-being, weight, strength, flexibility, improved mental health and perhaps even lengthening life. Try fidgeting your feet while sitting, dancing a bit while doing chores around the house, taking the stairs and moving around to shift weight while standing in line. Here are some other ideas to help non-exercisers.
Non-Exercise 1: Solo Slow Dancing
Accredited to a Taoist Monk for its creation, Tai Chi is practiced for defense training, health benefits and meditation. This is our non-exerciser modification. Be aware of your breathing, keeping it slow and deep.
Step One: Turn on some slow music. If you have a smart radio, try requesting “spa/meditation” or “relaxing symphony” music.
Step Two: Move in slow, fluid motions; move however your body takes you!
Non-Exercise 2: Lift and Then LIFT
The next time you lift something that’s lightweight but provides just a touch of weight for you, really LIFT it. Think: purse, book, can of food, filled trash bag. Take care not to strain your shoulder, arm, neck and back.
Step One: Find something to lift (or notice it when something is already in your hand). Now, really lift it, up and down, slowly a few times, parallel with the floor and downward.
Step Two: Discover what other everyday items become liftable in new ways and repeat Step One.
Non-Exercise 3: Still Like A Table, Right…?
Shifting weight engages all sorts of muscles. There’s something both relaxing and refreshing about this movement to recharge your focus or transition between tasks.
Step One: From an upright position, slowly lower your knees to the floor, hip width apart. Move your hands to the floor, shoulder width apart, knees squared with hips, and hands with shoulders.
Step Two: Breathing slowly and deeply, carefully shift weight very slightly from side to side, and then slightly forward and backward.
Step Three: Tighten core, slowly tuck and raise belly, arching back upward slightly, and then lower belly, back arching downward slightly toward floor. Return to neutral and slowly return to upright position. Repeat steps as desired.