We do a lot of stretching in the gym as I attend a postural gym class twice a week. Our instructor always tells us we should do at least one or more of these exercises every day at home. It can range from one to three or even ten minutes and I must say that when I am self-disciplined enough, it works!
The only problem is when, as I am so lazy! Now you know why I have to go to gym class because the instructor is there with a whip and he is a sadist. Joking!
Here are seven of the best and easiest exercises we do. Try just one or two of these and you will be in a great mood all day long. Loads of studies show that depressed patients get great benefit too from a little exercise. But anybody can gain as the studies cited in this American Psychological Association article show. The usual reminder is to consult a medical professional if you are new to this, before starting.
1. Go for a walk.
If you live on the 78th floor, you might not be able to get a decent walk but there is always a treadmill. Contact with nature is fabulous but many city dwellers cannot get near a park or trees.
At my age, I have to be content with walking but if you are younger, you can easily upgrade to running! Lots of benefits such as keeping your blood pressure lower, strengthening bones and also keeping your heart in good shape. Even the way you walk will benefit your mental health.
How Does Your Walking Posture Affect Your Mental Health?
Walk tall, walk straight, look the world right in the eye
2. Cat camel stretch
What better way to stretch your back without straining it as all the body weight is removed. Great for getting rid of stiffness. You can also do this after a long spell working in a sedentary position such as the office. Watch the video here to see how it is done.
3. Balancing Table Pose
Get down on your hands and knees. This is your table. Take a deep breath and as you breathe out, lift your right leg parallel to the floor as you raise your left arm. Keep the raised leg and arm parallel to the floor. Do a few repetitions like this without changing sides. Then change sides and do exactly the same.
4. Jumper in Chief
When Michelle Obama was First Lady, she became famous for many things, including this great exercise which is known as jumping jacks. That is why she was nicknamed “Jumper in Chief”. Great for cardiovascular health and toning your muscles.
5. Side –lying abductor lifts
This is a great exercise to keep leg muscles supple. You are always using them when you get out of the car and also when you get on your bike. They are beneficial to keep your core stable, toning glute muscles and also for strengthening your hips. Watch the video to see how it is done. Do anything from 10 to 15 raises for each side.
6. Leg squats
We did these leg squats this morning in the gym but we had to do it with both feet balancing on a foot cushion. Not easy! Here is a much kinder and gentler version where the legs are apart. These are great for strengthening your hips, knees, calves and hamstring muscles.
7. Bicycle crunches
These are great for helping to burn off fat around the waistline and also strengthening your core muscles. Excellent for targeting the abs. Do as many as you feel comfortable with.
Nothing like morning exercise to boost your mood. It is also a great way to keep your weight under control and your muscles are much fitter. You will also sleep better.
Try one or several of these exercises on a regular basis and you will soon start to see results.