Our daily activities can dictate how or bodies will maintain or disintegrate over our lifetime. If you work in an office environment, sitting most of the day, that lifestyle promotes disintegration. If you do manual labor like construction or farm work, your body will more naturally maintain itself. Of course, manual labor type jobs have the risk of incurring bodily injury or disintegration. And if your daily routine involves a lot of driving, there is the double whammy of inactivity and stress driving in traffic or unsafe conditions.
In assessing your daily routine, certain exercise become absolutely necessary to keep your body from disintegrating over time and ruining your quality of life and longevity. Below are lifestyles and associated exercises to offset the negative aspects they wreck.
Office work and driving both involve a lot of sitting. I put office work first because in our technology driven world most of us sit in front of a computer for most of the day, getting up periodically to go to meetings only to sit again. Sitting for long periods increases blood pressure, blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. It also impacts our posture by elongating our glute or butt muscles and shorting our hip flexors, leading to pressure on the lower back.
The first goal is to limit sitting by setting an alarm to get up every 40 to 60 minutes to walk around, maybe do a line dance for 5 minutes. After that performing exercises that tighten the glutes quads and open the hip flexors will add more equal weight distribution to offset pressure on the spine.
Manual labor that involves lifting and bending and chores like shoveling snow, and daily life activities like lifting children and groceries, can test the back and the heart. To minimize the threat of injury in any activity that involves the back, the best offense is a strong core and lower body. Strengthening these muscles allows them to take pressure off the back and should be the first physical resource the body goes to when it has to handle a heavy load. This is also the best defense against a heart attack which unfortunately is a prominent risk when shoveling snow. The strain of lifting in cold weather can cause sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate, and the cold air can cause constriction of the blood vessel and decrease oxygen to the heart. Below are exercises that will strengthen the lower body and core.
Glutes and Quads
- Leg Lifts – tighten glutes, strengthens core, and lengthens hip flexors and quads.
- Hold on to the glide bar or get on all fours.
- Lengthen the leg then lift and lower 8 times, squeezing the butt with every lift. Keep the core tight making sure each lift starts with the core. Follow up with 16 leg lift pulse, keeping the foot in the air. Go to the other side.
- Squats – tighten glutes and hamstrings and strengthen quads and core muscles.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- Bend at your knees and hips to lower your butt toward the ground, as if you’re sitting in a chair.
- Go as low as you can, then push through heels to stand back up. Make sure your knees don’t go past your ankles. Do 10 of these.
- Quad/ hip flexor stretches – stretches hip flexor and quads muscles
- Place one knee at bottom of glide bar with one foot on floor. Press knee back towards tower for full stretch and then return to bent knee. Perform 6 stretches.
- Roll ups – strengthens core.
- Lay back on glide bar with head towards tower hold a handle in each hand.
- Bend elbows and curl shoulder blades off the bar, looking down towards the core.
- Roll back down. Repeat 10 times.
- Dead Bug – strengthens core.
- Stay in roll up position with shoulder blades off the bar. Lengthen arms long holding handles.
- Lift both knees. Alternate toe taps on bar while maintaining curl positions. Repeat toe taps 20 times.
- Hip lifts – relieves tension in your lower back and tightens glutes, hamstrings and core.
- Lay on back with feet n floor and knees bent.
- Press the belly button towards the floor and roll the hips up towards the ceiling, squeezing the glutes at the top of the move.
- Roll the hips back down, imprinting the spine to the floor. Repeat 10 times.
- Opposite arm and leg lift – stretches out spine and elongates shoulders and strengthens core.
- Get on all fours.
- Lift the right arm and left leg, keeping eyes on the floor. Press the belly button/core up towards your back and squeeze the glutes
- Stretch in that position, lengthening the distance from your outstretched hand to your outstretched foot. Hold for 10 counts, switch sides.
These exercises should be performed every other day and will help you feel strong and refreshed.