Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Balance and Core Strength 1
 hourly exercise breaks

workout skeleton 01

PDF version here.

I'm still working out how to write about fitness for this blog in a way that seems meaningful to me. Seems to me, I mean. Well also, meaningful to me. It's not even that it's so much harder to write about process, it's just so much better to teach process in person when you can look and listen and lay hands on folks. I feel like obviously you'd get the most from working with me in person, oh and, I finally put together my services page, then I think next best is videos, MBodyStrength is my favorite for that, and then next best is photos, but you have to start somewhere, so for now I have these workout skeletons. I would like to at least back these up with photos, at the moment you can find photos of all of the above movements in my muscles and movement series.

I said before that whether or not you work out at all, you should take breaks from sitting throughout the day and that hourly, one-minute breaks are as good a starting point as any, so let's pick up from there.

  1. Say to yourself, "I'm going to get up on the hour for exercise breaks." Like, out loud.
  2. Set something to poke yourself on the hour. I set myself reminders on a separate Google calendar, so I can switch it on and off as needed.
  3. The above skeleton is For Form—i.e., you do a set number of reps, i.e., ten, at your own pace with your focus on perfect form. You could also do these For Time, so then you would want to set a timer and do each set of exercises for a minute. I use Timer, but it's less fiddly just to count reps for a short break like this.
  4. But before you make a single move, check your posture! If prolonged sitting has tightened your chest and weakened your upper back, and weakened your abs and tightened your lower back, take a moment to stretch your chest and engage your upper back, and engage your abs and relax your lower back. Keep your upper back and abs engaged through each set.
  5. Just do one set of one exercise on the hour, though you'll do L and R sets for the hip exercises. Through the day that will take you through all the major movements at the shoulder and hip, so you will be exercising b) range of motion at these two major joints, and for the hip exercises c) balance, and remember that all balance relies on d) core strength, and don't forget a) good posture throughout.
  6. And when you sit back down, try not to shlump!

If you're a skater, here are two extras for you. One you can do waiting for the bus or train on the way to work, and the other you can do waiting for the bus or train on the way home.

In between, i.e., on the bus or train, just for fun, try riding hands free! It's easier on the train than the bus, I will tell you that. Be considerate, okay? Don't knock down any grannies. But basically you keep your balance exactly the same, by starting with good posture and strategically engaging your core to keep yourself upright.

You do pretty much want to break up every day that you spend mostly sitting down, and after an initial period of consciously doing this, ideally it'll become second nature and you'll do it without thinking. Because it's a lot to think about every day, and you don't want to burn out your brain on this; the exercises themselves are low-intensity enough that you can do them every day, though. And if you do, you'll be amazed at how quickly you improve. Like I used to not be able to stand on one leg to put on tights, like it didn't even occur to me to be able to do that, and now I'm a total showoff about it, standing on one leg forever like I'm making sure that everything is straight.