Helpful How-To’s

 

While there are lots of people with energy dedicated to working out, there are the rest of us who are sedentary for many reasons. Some of us are older and/or physically limited. Or we’re tired. Or we feel defeated and unmotivated.

 

As humans, we need to move to be physically healthy. Our bodies require it.

 

I do not claim to be a fitness authority. If anything, I hate to sweat. And let’s be realistic. In my opinion no amount of exercise can really metabolize the kinds and amounts of food we Americans ingest. This is unless we eat far less and exercise far more. Also, some think if we are not driven or svelte, we don’t deserve fitness.

 

I maintain that fitness is our inalienable right. This means being able to get up and down, carry things, walk a distance and engage in activities that we enjoy and are life-giving. 

 

If moving is manageable, we can defy this lethargy and make realistic fitness our goal.

 

So, why not think of ways to make exercise more desirable and therefore doable? Think this: Whatever you do is more than you would have done. I’ve come up with a few tricks for those of us who don’t think of exercise as second nature or have had injuries that make “regular” exercise difficult.

 

Exercise in Bed

 

Yes, when you awaken or when you go to bed, you can do things in the comfort of your own mattress. Personally, I find that exercising on a mattress helps to cushion my back, which is so helpful since I’ve had back pain and injuries for quite some time now.

 

Here are a few things I do for anywhere from 10 to 30 times (whatever you are up to).

 

Stretching

 

You can stay in a reclining position, with your head on your pillow. Lift your legs, one at a time. Then raise both legs together, knees bent or straight. your choice. Sit up and reach for your toes. The goal is to stretch and feel your body working!

 

Planks

 

Planks are trending as the go-to for a stronger stomach, arms and core. It’s so much easier to do on a cushiony surface like a bed than on a flat, hard surface. After each plank (count to ten) go into child pose.

 

Feel free to use pillows or anything that protects you but allows you to still work the right muscles. You can watch how planks are done on the floor and adapt this for your cushioned bed.

 

Bicycle

 

Air pedal your legs while reclining. Count slowly to 15. Rest legs then do it again.

 

Here are a few more of my favorite ways to move with as little pain as possible:

 

Dance

 

Play your favorite song and dance to it the whole way through. Change it up with different songs. Do this a few times a day. My favorites are Aretha Franklin and her songs “Respect” and “Think.” Sometimes I’ll even dance to “Along Comes Mary” by the Associations.

 

If you cannot be on your feet, get the arms moving while sitting and still feel the beat.

 

Get Rocking

 

You’ll need a rocking chair for these exercises. If you don’t have one, treat yourself to one. I have a rocker outside my home. I hook up my dog and sit there and meditate as I rock. I try not to be in my head and just listen to the creak of the chair and chirping of birds.

 

Twalk

 

This is walking and talking on your cell phone with a buddy. Set a time, length and “walk the walk” while you talk (subject matter, up to you of course).

 

Posture

 

For our bodies to move better, we need to have good posture. Posture when sitting, standing or walking really pays. When you hold your head up and shoulders back, you are showing self-respect and training your spine. Many parents and teachers preached this. I sure didn’t listen. But they were right: good posture pays! It also renders alertness and being in the present.

 

More power to all those with a “buff” body. But more power to you if you choose to run your own race without racing. Give yourself a good dose of oxygen. In my book, slower, kinder movements are effective, especially if you deal with past injuries and back pain. Remember your only goal is move more and let energy beget more energy. Feel entitled, be deliberate in what you do and last but not least, enjoy the workout that works for you!

 

What exercises do you do when you can’t pound the pavement or if fitness isn’t your strong suit? I’d love to know!

 

Beth

Beth grew up in Camden, New Jersey and majored in Education and History at Rutgers University and later obtained a Masters in Family Therapy at Drexel University. She’s married to her husband of 41 years with two young adult children—a daughter and son—who both work in NYC. She loves movies, Netflix, books, history, linguistics and exploring the human condition. From her extensive background, she’s accumulated many stories and lessons and looks forward to shaping the conversation.