Saturday, February 02, 2013

Speed Cleaning Tips

     People often ask for my favorite speed cleaning tips. My reply is exercise and stretching to keep joints limber and muscles strong.     

     “Sit up straight! Don’t slouch, keep your back straight” mom bellowed every time my shoulders drooped during my youthful years over 50 years ago. Over the past ten years I've noticed even youth tending to slouch. By the time people reach their 40's shoulders are bent over, stomachs bulge, breathing has become shallow and circulation slows down all due to poor posture and a lack of exercise. Slouching compresses organs and the entire intestinal track while putting pressure on back and neck vertebra, which in turn stresses the knees and hips. Picture your heart pumping as it rests on your open hand. Now squeeze your hand.  

     Stretch for the health. Let’s take a look at a few stretching exercises and tips to stop this downward spiral. To start, women avoid purses especially shoulder straps as the weight pulls the shoulders down and forward. Fanny packs are best and prevent the tendency to overload a backpack. Men remove your wallet before sitting down as it throws the back and hips out of whack.

     Always check with your doctor prior to a new exercise program. Stretch for 15 to 20 minutes and walk for 30 minutes every day. Lengthen your stride with each setp to further stretch back, hip and leg muscles and limber the joints. The following stretches were learned from my highly ranked college Judo instructor and a physical therapist after being hit head on. 

     Every breath countsBreathe deeply during each stretch and hold the stretch for a minute preferably longer giving muscles time to relax and lengthen. Work up to five plus repetitions.

      Stand with your feet at shoulder length apart. With the right arm reach to the sky, hold and alternate arms.

     With feet shoulder length apart and back straight; bend the knees as far as comfort allows into what is called the horse stance. Keep heels on the floor. Bring your arms in front at waist height for balance. Tighten stomach muscles and hold. This pose strengthens core and upper leg muscles. Lengthen the hold each time. Breathe deeply.

     Return to a standing position and shake the legs. Feet at shoulder length apart, bend the knees slightly, tighten stomach muscles then swing the arms from side to side increasing speed when comfortable. This improves circulation and deepens the breath.  

      Next sit on the floor. Spread your legs out then gently pound the legs with your fists to loosen the muscles and increase circulation. Pounding the lower back feels great too! Twist to one side and place both hands, if possible, on the floor in back of you. Lower your torso as far as possible with the goal to reach the floor. Hold and switch sides.

      Bring the legs together and reach down the legs as far as possible. Hold the pose. Eventually you will be able to grab the toes. Roll up through the spine.

      Next spread the legs and reach down each leg with both hands as far as possible. Hold then repeat on the other side. Finish by leaning forward between the legs as far as possible. Never strain. Roll up to a sitting position.

    Bring the legs together. Place the left hand behind the right shoulder and the right hand behind the left shoulder grabbing the shoulder blades. Roll your chin down onto your chest followed by your head and shoulders. Pull out on the shoulder blades as you roll down. Breathe deeply, hold and slowly unroll.

    Return to a standing position with feet further apart than shoulder width. Start by circling the shoulders then the whole arms. Raise your right arm up and over your head. Support yourself by placing the left hand on the left leg. Continue stretching over moving the left hand down the leg for support. The eventual goal is to touch the floor with the left hand. Bring both hands to the center between the legs and place them on their respective leg. Work the hands up the legs unrolling to a standing position. Repeat to the right side.

    Walk for Health. Now head out for your 30 minute fast paced walk!

    This website offers excellent tips on correct posture while driving, sitting and other activities.
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