This week I've started a new exercise plan. It's not a big deal. Takes about 15 minutes maybe, but is supposed to be really good for you. It's a little something that doesn't require a tape or a teacher or a class -- so I can do it before I even leave the bedroom. They say, in fact, that you really should do it first thing in the morning, so being able to do it in the bedroom is a good thing.
There's a built in progression that means you start slowly, and build up to the ultimate set gradually. There are five exercises, and when you've achieved "mastery" of these exercises, you'll do 21 of each exercise once a day. Starting with 2 or 3 means that at first, it hardly takes any time at all, but it will never take more than about 15-20 minutes (and in fact, once it gets to the longest time, will start reducing time as you speed up).
Of course, some of these exercises are a bit challenging. Well, for me, two of them are a lot challenging. Luckily, there's a set of Alternate Exercises that you can do until you've built up strength to do the "real" ones. I'll be doing a few of the alternates for a while; I'm so not ready for Rite # 2!
The routine is called the Five Tibetan Rites. Best of all, the page I've linked to there also gives you a set of warms ups (okay, another several minutes, but good ones), and a set of Alternates.
I started by doing the warms ups (and no rites at all) for two days. As the author of that link points out, these exercises are indeed working and stretching things that have not been stretched or worked much lately.
Then I did the warm ups, and started with the plan that I'd do three each of all of the Alternates that I could do for a couple of days. While the first exercise (both the actual rite and the alternate) is in perpetual motion, the others have you get into positions that are using particular muscle groups, and then holding those positions for 10, 15, 20 or 30 seconds depending on the exercise. Exercise 2 requires that I sit on the floor with my feet out in front of me, then lean back onto my elbows (so far so good), then raise my feet a few inches off the ground and hold them up for 20-30 seconds.
Images ganked from the web page I've linked to above.
Ouch. On day one, I could hold for 20 seconds only once. The second attempt I couldn't hold them nearly that long. How very embarrassing. (I have added torso curls to the picture to help build up that obviously wimpy cores), and today I made it to three (barely).
On day one, I could only do two wall sits, holding myself in that chair position against the wall for 15 seconds.
Now I can do four.
Each day, I'm a little stronger. I've progressed into doing the actual rites for Rite # 1 (though I may also do the alternate, because I like it), and Rite #5 - Down Dog to Cobra.
I can do all 21 for Rite #1 (Whirling Dervish).
I haven't fully tested how many I can do for Rite #5, because I'm a lazy wimp, but today I did five.
And though I started this process being able to do ten of the Alternate for Rite # 4 (which is the point at which they suggest starting the actual rite),
I'm only up to two on the real thing.
I'm hoping that my experience with these exercises will be similar to my cousin Gail's experiences: she found that they really helped with strength and agility and flexibility.
But mostly, I'm hoping to actually build doing some exercise every day into my routine.
Anyone else want to try? We could compare notes.