KEYS TO FITNESS: Easy Exercise

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YONEMOTO, SHEILA-colorBy SHEILA YONEMOTO, P.T.

People always want an easier way to do things. Life is complicated enough and schedules are packed, so how can we squeeze out another 5-10 minutes to improve our health?

My patients and students always sigh when I suggest they incorporate 20 minutes of exercise into their daily routine. Here are some simple, easy ways to get more out of your body without much effort.

Before getting out of bed, take three deep breaths while raising your arms overhead with the inhalation and bringing your arms down with the exhalation. This gives your shoulders a mild stretch and fills your lungs with air.

Before getting out of bed, tighten your abdomen and buttocks, holding for 5 seconds, repeating 5-10 times. This helps flatten your abdomen and buttocks as well as massaging the organs in your pelvic bowl, helping eliminate waste from your digestive tract and bladder.

Sitting at bedside, make circles with your ankles and pump your feet up and down. This pumps the fluid from your feet and legs up to your heart as well as stretching tendons and ligaments around ankles and feet.

During the day, find more opportunities to walk. Park the car further away to get another 1-5 minutes of walking to and from your destination. Walk up and down stairs instead of taking the elevator. Walk up escalators instead of standing still. The increased aerobic workout for the larger muscles in your body, i.e. legs, will tone your body and make your heart and lungs stronger.

When standing in line, rise up on your toes and hold for 8 seconds. This shapes your calves and improves your balance. According to Chinese medicine, this strengthens your kidney system, improving your overall health and longevity.

Once during the day, do deep breathing while you walk. Take in a 5-10-second inhalation through your nose and then exhale for 5-10 seconds while blowing out your mouth, like blowing out birthday candles, first with arms at your side, then across your chest and finally on top of your head. This gets the air flowing into different parts of your lungs.

Finally, do some ordinary physical activity on a daily basis such as housework, yard work, walking the dog, shopping, doing sports or playing with your kids.

The list is short and could be extended, but you decide whether you can incorporate these simple activities into your daily routine to make it easier to get the most out of what you do on a daily basis. Little bits are often much easier to carve out of your day than one big chunk.

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Qigong, Chinese energy classes. Try a no-impact qigong class. Your first class, a $30 value, is free! Classes are held at Y.P.T. Call for more info.

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Sheila Yonemoto, P.T., has been a physical therapist for over 30 years, specializing in Integrative Manual Therapy utilizing a holistic approach. She can be reached at Yonemoto Physical Therapy, 55 S. Raymond Ave., Suite 100, Alhambra, CA  91801. Call (626) 576-0591 for a free consultation and free insurance evaluation, or visit www.yonemoto.com for more information.

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