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Exercise, Does a Body Good

For your reading convenients below you will find all the Exercise, Does a Body Good published in 2019

January 2019

Welcome to January’s issue of Exercise Does A Body Good! I hope everyone's holiday was a good one, and now time to get back to working out. In this issue I discuss Pilates, and include five exercises.

What is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of exercise that emphasizes the balanced development of the body through core strength, Flexibility, and awareness to support efficient, graceful movements.

The health benefits of Pilates include improved flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks.

Who created Pilates?
Pilates was created in the twenties by the physical trainer Joseph Pilates, for the purpose of rehabilitation. Some of the first people treated by Pilates were soldiers returning from war and dancers.
Joseph Pilates was born in 1883 in Germany, and migrated to America in the twenties. He and his wife opened up an exercise studio in New York City.

I believe Pilates is a great form of exercise to do at home. You do not need a lot of equipment to perform Pilates. All you need is some space on the floor, on a mat or carpet. You can use ankle weights or resistant bands, or no weights at all.

Exercise 1: Double Legged Bridges.
Starting Position: Lie flat on your back, knees bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor, and arms at your sides. Tuck in your stomach to contract your stomach muscles to allow your lower back to flatten to the floor.
Movement: Lift buttocks off the floor, while keeping stomach muscles engage throughout the movement. Lift buttocks off the floor about a foot or more and hold the top position for a count of 1 to 2 seconds. Slowly lower buttocks to the floor and repeat.
Repetitions: Do 25 reps.

Exercise 2: One Legged Bridging.
Starting Position: Same position as double legged bridging, with the following exceptions. Right leg should be off the floor about 2 to 3 inches with the knee and hip straight and toes pointing to promote elongation of the leg. Remember left foot is flat on the floor and knee is bent at 90 degrees.
Movement: Lift buttocks off the floor to the elevated position while keeping right leg straight and hold for a count of 1 to 2 seconds. Slowly lower buttocks to the starting position, and repeat. This is a more advanced form of bridging.
Repetitions: Do 25 reps of 1 legged bridging, and repeat the exercise to the other leg.
Muscles: These 2 exercises involve strengthening the hamstrings, buttocks, and abdomen.

Exercise 3: Straight leg raise.
Starting Position: Lie flat on your back, stomach tucked in, arms at your sides, and legs hip width apart and straight.
Movement: Starting with right leg, point toes down to promote elongation, and lift leg straight up to about 90 degrees or less, depending on your flexibility of hips and hamstrings. Slowly lower leg back to starting position, and repeat.
Repetitions: Do 25 reps and switch to the left leg.
Muscles: The straight leg exercise involves strengthening the quadraceps and abdomen and increases the flexibility of the hamstrings.

Exercise 4: I called this the Helicopter, or Whirly Bird.
Starting Position: Lie flat on your back, feet hip width apart, legs straight, engage stomach muscles, and arms at your sides.
Movement: Depending on your flexibility, raise right leg to about 75 to 90 degrees with toes pointing to the ceiling. With right toes and leg, I want you to draw a big and exaggerated letter o (circle) in mid air.
Repetitions: Do 15 reps for both clockwise and counter clockwise, then switch to the left leg and do the same.
Muscles: This helicopter ride works the legs, hips and core muscles. This also helps flexibility of the hamstrings and range of motion of the hips.

Exercise 5: Side Lying Hip Abduction.
Starting Position: Lie on your right side, keeping your lower and upper body in straight alignment. Right arm straight on the floor, aligned with the rest of your body, and head resting on your right upper arm. If you have a stiff neck, lets modify this position with right elbow bent at 90 degrees and head resting in the palm of your hand.
Movement: Starting with the top leg, which is your left leg, toes pointing down, raise left leg up to your end of range of motion and hold for a count of 1 to 2 seconds. Slowly lower leg to starting position, and repeat.
Repetitions: 15 reps for both legs.
Muscles: This works your hip abductors muscles, and remember to engage your stomach muscles throughout the movement.

Exercise 6: Drawing O’s.
Starting Position: Lie on your right side as in the hip abduction exercise.
Movement: While engaging stomach muscles, raise left leg about 6 inches away from the right leg. Keeping toes pointed downward and leg and knee straight, draw the small letter O both clockwise and counter clockwise 15 times. Be sure to rest for 30 seconds before switching to the other way. Then draw the big letter O both clockwise and counter clockwise 15 times. Be sure to rest for 30 seconds before switching to the other way.
Repetitions: Do 15 reps for both clockwise and counter clockwise, then switch to the left leg and do the same.
Muscles: Again, this works your legs, hips, and core muscles. In addition, it works your range of motion in your hips.

In the February edition, I will continue with four more Pilates exercises. Pilates is a great exercise program for the home, so enjoy, be creative, move and do it!

Health tip:
With winter here in the northern hemisphere, and summer in the southern hemisphere, it is time to protect your skin by moisturizing. Winter can cause dry skin and cracking. Summer weather can cause sunburns and premature wrinkles. So we need to protect our skin from the weather elements.
Benefits for applying moisturizer to the skin:
prevents dullness and dryness, and flaking of the skin.
Improves hydration of the skin.
creates a protective layer of moisture to the skin.

The best time to apply moisturizer is after you have showered or washed your face. So, when the skin is moist, that’s the time to apply the moisturizer.

That is it for this month’s issue, and remember Exercise Does A Body Good!

February 2019

Welcome back to another edition of Exercise Does A Body Good. I have some more Pilates exercises to share with you. Refer to my article in the January edition to see what Pilates is all about, and the other exercises.

Exercise 1: The Bicycle Wheel.
Starting Position: Lay on the floor on your right side, with body in straight alignment. Imagine you are sitting on a bicycle while laying down in this position.
Movement: Raise your left leg 3 to 4 inches above your right leg. Pretending there is a pedal at the bottom of your left foot, bend your hip and knee towards your chest and then push your leg down and straight out. Without stopping, continue to “pedal”, by moving your left leg back and around to your chest. This is the clockwise motion of riding a bicycle. Think hip and knee forward to 90 degrees, straighten leg to neutral position, and hyperextend hip, and repeat.
Repetitions: 15 rotations for both clockwise and counter clockwise.
Muscles: The bicycle wheel works the hip flexors muscles, hip extensor muscles, and definitely works the range of motion for your hips.
Note: Do this exercise slowly until you get the hang of it.

Exercise 2: Hip Adduction.
Starting Position: Remain on your right side, lift your left hip and leg about four to six inches away from your right leg. Keep your knee straight and your toes pointed. Hold your left leg in this position throughout the exercise.
Movement: Lift your right leg up towards your left leg and back down to the floor. Think of trying to put your two legs together. You do not need to hold this position, just touch your heels and repeat.
Repetitions: 15 times. After completeing15 reps of exercise one and two, roll over onto your left side, and work your right hip and leg.
Muscles: This exercise works both the inner & outer thighs.

Exercise 3: Superman With A Twist.
Starting Position: lie on your stomach with feet hip width apart. Arms, shoulder width apart, and outstretched in front of you. You should resemble superman when flying.
Movement: lift arms, hands, legs, and feet off the ground, about 2 to 3 inches, for 30 seconds. While holding this position, I want you to click your heels together, move them apart, and repeat this motion of together. And apart. Count how many times you can click your heels together in 30 seconds. Remember engage your stomach muscles throughout this exercise.
Repetitions: Do these 3 separate times, working your way up to more.
Muscles: This exercise will work hamstrings, buttocks, abdomen lower and upper back.

Exercise 4: Sit Ups.
Starting Position: Lie down with your lower and upper back flat on the floor. Legs straight out and flat on the floor, about hip width apart. Raise your hands and arms overhead on the floor.
Movement: Contract your abdomen muscles, and keep them engaged throughout this movement. Raised your arms off the floor till they are perpendicular to the floor or at 90 degrees. Then Curl your head, neck and upper torso off the floor. Keeping stomach muscles engaged, reach forward so your fingers touch your toes. Once your fingers touch your toes, slowly lower your upper torso back to the starting position.
Repetitions: 15 to 25 reps.
Muscles: This exercise works your abdomen.

Health tip:
Good Sitting Posture; How to improve posture for a healthy back.
Correct sitting position: Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. All 3 normal back curves should be present while sitting. Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips. Bend your knees at a right angle, and keep your feet flat on the floor. Try to maintain good sitting posture to prevent neck and low back pain.
Well that is it for this month and remember, Exercise Does a Body Good!

March 2019

Welcome back to another edition of an Exercise Does A Body Good. I hope you enjoyed the Pilates Exercises. This month I focus on some things to avoid, both at the gym, and at home.

Exercise #1: Behind the Neck Press.
Avoid: When performing this exercise, you place a barbell behind your head and neck. The movement is to press up over your head, and then back down again. This exercise will put your neck and shoulder muscles in a compromising position, risking injury.
Perform: It is recommended that you do a front shoulder press with a barbell.

Exercise #2: Upright Row with a Barbell.
Avoid: When performing this exercise with a barbell, your range of motion is limited. This can cause injury to your wrist and shoulder.
Perform: If you are going to do this exercise, it is recommended to use an E Z curl bar or dumb bells. These will enable greater range of motion, and less of a chance for injury.

Exercise #3: Behind the Neck Pull Down (at the gym).
Avoid: This exercise will compromise the shoulders and neck muscles. You are risking straining neck muscles, or straining or tearing your rotator cuff muscles, and we do not want that.
Perform: It is recommended to do a front lat pull down.

Exercise #4: Smith Machine (at the gym).
Avoid: The Smith Machine is a squat machine that uses a barbell. This machine limits your range of motion. When your range of motion is compromise, then your natural motion to do a squat is also compromised. This could result in low back pain.
Perform: It is recommended that you do squats with dumb bells or a barbell, and use good form.

There are more exercises to avoid in order to lessen the risk of injury. If you want more, send me an email at my address above, and I will continue with this topic next month.

Health tip:
Aquatic or Pool Therapy: an exercise program that is performed in the water. It is a beneficial form of therapy that is useful for a variety of medical conditions. Aquatic therapy uses the physical properties of water to assist in patient healing and exercise performance.

One benefit of aquatic therapy is the buoyancy provided by the water. While submerged in water, buoyancy assists in supporting the weight of the patient. This decreases the amount of weight bearing, which reduces the force of stress placed on the joints. This aspect of aquatic therapy is especially useful for patients with arthritis, healing fractured bones, or who are overweight. By decreasing the amount of joint stress, it is easier and less painful to perform exercises.

The viscosity of water provides an excellent source of resistance that can be easily incorporated into an aquatic therapy exercise program. This resistance allows for muscle strengthening without the need of weights. Using resistance coupled with the water’s buoyancy allows a person to strengthen muscle groups with decreased joint stress that cannot be experienced on land.

Well, this concludes another edition of an Exercise Does A Body Good!

April 2019

Welcome back exercise fans!
in this April edition, I am focusing on using the stability ball with dumbbells. Working with this combination is more challenging than working on a weight bench alone. The reason being is you have to maintain your balance on the ball, while at the same time, exercising your core muscles. Unlike the weight bench, you have to worry about falling off of the ball.

All of the below exercises will concentrate on working the chest, yep, the pecs. These are all done on your back, while lying on top of the stability ball. The ball will be placed underneath the upper back and knees will be bent at 90 degrees. feet should be at least shoulder width apart or more, for stability.

Exercise #1: The Dumbbell Chest Press.
Before beginning this exercise, sit on the ball with dumbbells in hands. Roll down onto the ball until ball is under your upper back or in between the shoulder blades, pelvis is parallel to the floor, knees are bent at 90 degrees, and feet shoulder width apart or more.
Starting Position: body on ball, dumbbells in hands, arms straight above chest, and palms grip down.
Movement: Lower weights toward chest until elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Raised arms back up to starting position, and repeat.
Repetitions: Do three sets, 15 to 20 reps.
Muscles Worked: The pectoralis major and minor muscles and shoulder muscles. With you working on the stability ball, you have also added core muscles such as the abdomen, hip, back and leg muscles.
Note: I recommend using light weighted dumbbells until you master balancing on the stability ball while exercising at the same time. Once mastered, then you can increase the weight of the dumbbells.

Exercise #2: Dumbbell Chest Flies or Butterfly.
Starting Position: Same as above.
Movement: Begin to open your chest like a butterfly opening its wings. Move your arms out, and to the side. Your wrist and elbows will begin to have a slight bend as you lower the weights outside of your chest. Continue till you reach your end range of motion. At this point, you should look like a butterfly with wings open. Once at the end of your range of motion, move your arms back to the starting position and repeat.
Repetitions: Do three sets, 15 to 20 reps.
Muscles Worked: This exercise will engage the primary muscles such as the chest and shoulders, and work the secondary muscles such as the core.
Note: Again, use light weights until you master this exercise on the stability ball. Once mastered, gradually increased the weights.

Exercise #3: Dumbbell Pullovers.
Starting Position: Same as above, but use only one dumbbell, with both hands gripping it. Arms should be out straight, and dumbbell over chest.
Movement: As you begin to lower the dumbbell over your head, you want your wrist and elbow to be slightly bent. Lower the weight over your head until you reach the end of your range of motion. Raise arms and dumbbell back to starting position, and repeat.
Repetitions: Do three sets, 15 to 25 reps.
Muscles Worked: This exercise works the primary muscles such as the chest, shoulders, and upper back muscles. It also works the secondary muscles such as the core.
Note: Like above, use light weights until you master this exercise on the stability ball.

Let me know if you like these types of workouts using both the dumbbells and the stability ball. If so, I will continue to describe exercise that work the back, and include some that involve using your legs.

Health Tip:
Those who suffer from low back pain or sciatica nerve pain, here is a good stretching exercise for that. In therapy they call it the piriformis streets. There are 2 ways to stretch out your piriformis:

•Lie on your back with both feet flat on the floor and both knees bent. Pull the right knee up to your chest, grasp the knee with the left hand and pull it towards the left shoulder. Hold the stretch. Repeat for each side.

•Lie on your back with both feet flat on the floor and both knees bent. Rest the ankle of your right leg over the knee of your left leg. Pull the left thigh toward the chest and hold the stretch. Repeat for each side.

Each piriformis stretch should be held for a count of 5 and eventually hold the stretch for a count of 30, 3 times a day. Good luck.
Ok, that is it for this month, happy training!

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