Simple, Fast, Anywhere, Whole Body Exercise

Walking is not enough. Walking and jogging or running are great for our cardiovascular system. Walking, jogging or running does not quite do it for Total Body Health. Total Body Health is being able to do what you want to need to do without fear of injury or pain the next day.

Exercise that uses as many of the muscles as possible leads to better overall health and fitness. If you are older like me, total body health makes the difference between getting through each day and looking forward to doing something that needs to be done each day. Tasks that used to be painful, become simple. Waking up sore because you pulled a few weeds yesterday ceases to becomes a painful reminder.

Only thing is, I, like many people do not like to exercise. Exercise is boring, and in itself brings no satisfaction. I want to get my exercise over quickly and get the most benefit in the least amount of time. I think most people prefer less time spent exercising and more time doing what they want to do.

Same as my previous post about my experience with High Intensity Interval Training, there are ways to exercise that maximize gain with minimal time spent doing them. And you do not need a gym. I again researched the internet and books to find what exercises are most common for giving the most return for the least amount of time.

I listed these out and picked out a few that were the most common and proven to be the most effective exercises to use as many muscles as possible while doing each exercise. I think these few exercises do just that. Of course they can be broken down into two or more individual exercises but this would take more time. These exercises take less than five minutes, and if you are just starting out, I suggest you spend less than two minutes on all of them to find out what your muscles think of them.

Exercise is like cooking, you can always add more. One main reason people stop exercising is because it becomes painful. You should think past this and realize it was not painful to get to the point where exercise is painful, so you should start out slow and increase your exercise time as your body is ready for it. There is no need to be sore and have your muscles hurt. We are all looking for a level of fitness, not joining an elite fighting organization.

I found this Ab Wheel in the pic in a thrift store for a few dollars. It is like new condition. When I bought it, I thought how hard can it be? I saw the infomercials, and it looked easy enough. One movement to the right, one to the center and one stretch to the left. I went through the movements when I brought home for about two minutes. The Ab Wheel afterward didn’t feel like I had done anything. The next day when I went to do a plank, I felt every strained and pained muscle in my abdomen tell me what I did yesterday. Starting slow is starting smarter.

Two minutes using this tells you your core fitness level

Here are the exercises I condensed down that most of the material I read agrees are the best whole body movements. You can look on web if you are not familiar with them as they are explained much better than I would explain them

1. Jumping Jacks – regular and side to side ~ Goal for one minute, thirty seconds or less starting out.

2. Squats ~ Goal for one minute, plan on ten seconds starting out.

3. Plank with palms down ~ Goal for thirty seconds, plan on about ten seconds starting out.

4. Plank with hands clenched ~ Goal for thirty seconds, plan on about ten seconds starting out.

5. Left and Right Side Planks ~ Goal for thirty plus seconds each, plan on about ten seconds or less for each side starting out.

5. Mountain Climber (partial Burpee movement) ~ Goal for one minute, less than thirty seconds starting out.

6. Lunge ~ Goal for one minute, less than thirty seconds starting out.

If you do these in succession, not only do they go fast, but you will be breathing harder than when when you started. If it is two hard, relax for a bit between exercises until you get used to them. You will be waking up any number of weak dormant muscles, so start slowly. I think doing these exercises every other or every third day is a good starting point. They only take a few minutes, but work a lot of muscles.

Of course check with your doctor to ensure these are exercises you can do. If you have not exercised in a while, perform these exercises ten seconds each. You will wake the next day and your body will let you know you did something different the day before. A little sore isn’t bad, really sore makes you want to not do it again.

I find simply standing with my arms at my sides for a few minutes after I am done with these exercises feels really good. I think it lets the muscles relax and form into the shape they should be in rather than the lazy way I have stretched and contorted them with my bad habits. Let me know how this works for you.

High Intensity Interval Training, My One Month Observations

I have been reading a lot about exercise lately. I joined a gym, and had an hour with an instructor. The hour turned out to be more of a sales pitch than anything else, but there may be a few seeds of knowledge in what I heard. The instructor holds a Masters Degree in Human Physiology, so I believe most of what he said. He lost me at the $400.00 per month trainer cost to get me looking like an American Ninja competitor in six months. I thought six months was too quick, maybe if he said seven months I would have signed up….

Between, the instructor, books and the web, I have learned exercise has changed a lot over the years. Smarter exercise is better exercise. Longer exercise times are not always smarter or better. Science seems to show almost everyone can get themselves in reasonable physical condition in as little as thirty minutes a week, as quickly as a few months.

The idea of High Intensity Interval Training is simple, once it is understood. It seems our bodies may not made for trotting all day alongside a herd of Antelope waiting for our chance to strike. The newer exercise science seems to declare we are made for reasonable movement mixed with all out spurts of action or movement mixed in.

Translated into something I understand, all out spurts of action means as little as one minute of cycling, running, swimming, cross country skiing, or performing any total body activity at the fastest possible speed. This all out action is repeated three times after warmup, with intervals of slower or recovery movement in between the all out portions.

Here is my plan using the ideas from High Intensity Interval Training:

1. Warm up. Perhaps a minute of jumping jacks followed by two minutes of walking, or simply walking about three minutes at a moderate pace.

2. Run as fast as I am able, with a goal of running all out for a full minute.

3. Slow to a walk for two to three minutes of recovery (catching my breath).

4. Run as fast as I am able, with a goal of running for a full minute.

5. Slow to a walk for two to three minutes of recovery (catching my breath).

6. Run as fast as I am able, with a goal of running for a full minute.

7. Slow to a walk for final recovery.

Exercise and feel younger, Exercise and feel better

I started using this High Intensity Interval Training exercise idea about a month ago, I could only run my fastest for about ten seconds. Muscles in my hips and upper thigh complained loudly and painfully. I thought at first I would not be able to do this as the pain was so quick and pronounced.

The pain remained for some days. The exercise reward seemed non-existent. I went through my cycles with a goal of this exercise plan every other day, or three times a week.

It is now a month or so later, and I am up to all out running all out for about thirty to forty seconds. No pain. My Recovery Walk lasts two to four minutes instead of ten or twelve. High Intensity Interval Training has a lot going for it after all. I confess I am a converted skeptic about High Intensity Interval Training.

As a baseline, I want to mention, I walk a lot. When the weather and other things cooperate, I walk somewhere around 15 miles or more a week. Running however is a whole different animal.

I do not remember having as much as jogged in the last twenty years. After 40, running was thought to cause joint problems. Initially running was where my major pain came from. I discovered I had several smaller unused or little used muscles around my lower hips and  hip joint.

Which brings me to something the instructor salesman told me which may or may not be true. As we sail past about fifty years of age, we become much more efficient at the things we do. If we are going to get up, we do two or more things because we are up.

Our body also starts to quit using non essential muscles, and even some muscles that are useful, but not mandatory in our lifestyle. Muscles start to deteriorate because we do not use them.

Setting my skepticism aside, I am sold on High Intensity Interval Training as the most productive use of limited exercise time. If you are like me and have not moved faster than a fast walk for some years, you may want to buy a bottle of your preferred pain reliever first.

Of course always check with your doctor, and read what you can find about High Intensity Interval Training to determine if this is the right exercise for you. I find I enjoy High Intensity Interval Training and the gains are fast – once the pain goes away.