Saturday, January 31, 2009

Top 5 Benefits of Undulation

There’s plenty to do to stay healthy: aerobic exercise, strength training, stretching, good nutrition, relaxation techniques, laughing, breathing, brain exercises. It’s hard enough to find time for well-rounded routine self care, so it takes compelling reasons to do something new and different.

Here are five compelling reasons to incorporate undulation into your regular habits. The additional benefit is that it only takes five minutes a day to gain these benefits.

#1 Undulation increases flexibility. Most people think that stretching is the key to flexibility, but often muscles are dehydrated and encased in stiff connective tissue, which stretching doesn’t change. If your muscles are crunchy and tight and stretching hasn't helped, try undulation. The flowing, micro-movements of undulation make muscles more pliable and flexible.

#2 Strengthen core muscles. Hundreds of muscle fibers surround the spine—and most go unused in the average person resulting in back pain and stiffness. Typical exercise leaves these smaller muscles, like the multifidi, semispinalis, and rotators, weak. The small, focused movements of undulation strengthen core muscles around the spine.

#3 Nourish the spine. Fluid filled discs provide cushion between the vertebrae, which can shrink and bulge when not in optimal condition. As a matter of fact, up to one-fifth of your spinal height comes from the discs, so if you’ve become shorter with age, your discs have probably shrunk. Since the discs don’t receive blood supply, they depend on gentle movements to stay healthy. Undulation is just the right amount of movement to nourish discs and ligaments.

#4 Increased body awareness. Many injuries can be avoided when you are in tune with your body, am I’m not just talking about stubbing your toe or missing a step. When you take a few minutes every day to listen to what your body needs and respond accordingly, you develop a different awareness that benefits your entire life. Undulation teaches you to tune in.

#5 Other movements become easier. The spine is the center of movement, so when it is flexible (see #1), strong (#2), and healthy (#3), every movement more comfortable, from looking over your shoulder to swinging a golf club to reaching into a cabinet.

Try the undulations shown in these videos and audio samples. If you want to learn more, check out Relieve Stiffness and Feel Young Again with Undulation. If you are already undulating, remember to incorporate five minutes into your daily activities for a strong, flexible, healthy spine; while waiting for the computer to turn on, in the shower, or between the buzzes of the snooze alarm.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Free Form Undulation

When you have a tight spot or kink in your back, you can use a specific undulation from the book or CDs to relieve the stress, or you can use Free Form to engage your body's wisdom to unwind and relax.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Movement Nature Meant, Ruthy Alon

Ruthy Alon, a Feldenkrais practitioner, emphasizes that movement is the essence of being alive. She says that whoever you are, in whatever condition, you can always improve the quality of how you move. She encourages you to feel safe and comfortable and to investigate the variations of movement. For example, how do you go from lying down to sitting up, in a way that is both comfortable and efficient?

Watch how gracefully she moves, how she uses the “momentum of the spiral” to move gradually and comfortably.

I love how she undulates for fun and also builds this vital movement into everyday activities.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Undulation of the Week To Release Your Neck

There's been a fair amount of neck pain in my life lately. Several of my clients have reported it, I've had a bit, and the weather has been a royal pain in the neck, too. I've used the Yes-No-Maybe So Undulation to relieve the stiffness and creakiness. Here's a video.

You can also do this sitting in a chair or standing. The "Yes" part is a bit more difficult, but the "No" and "Maybe So" are easier, especially when standing.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Low Cost Exercise

Low-Cost Exercise
Eliminating unnecessary expenses is a natural reaction to the downturn in the economy. At the same time staying active and healthy is more important than ever, so it makes sense to recommit to your fitness goals. (Who wants to pay for a doctor’s visit or medication, especially when money is tight?) If a new treadmill or gym membership isn’t in your budget this year, here are some low-cost ideas to keep your exercise habit fresh and inspired.

You can find many good videos on You Tube, just be careful to follow someone with expertise and safety advice. Here are two aerobic exercise videos, but you can also search for other areas such as strength training, yoga, belly dance, and more.

Expert village Aerobic exercise

Beginner’s aerobic

You can also put a CD in your music player and dance. Your favorite dance tunes will not only get your body moving, you'll improve your mood, too.

Your local library also has exercise books and tapes for free!

Another idea is to call a friend for an exercise date: a hike, bike ride, or maybe to try some of those old Tae Bo tapes that are gathering dust. Better yet, call a friend who has the new WiiFitness or WiiSports program. Fifteen minutes of video boxing or playing tennis will get your heart rate up.

Low Cost
You may not be in the market for equipment, but you can round out your fitness with a new exercise book. Here are some to consider.

A Bit More (But still under $100)
Investing in a session with personal trainer or private yoga or Pilates instruction can help you develop a satisfying home practice. These professionals will work with the equipment you already have to tailor a workout plan just for you.

Staying in shape doesn’t have to be expensive. When we were kids—riding bikes, climbing trees, skipping rope, and basically just using our bodies as they were intended—spending money wasn't required for motivation. Rediscover your youthful enthusiasm for movement and you’ll establish a fitness habit that isn’t dampened by economic trends.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Routine Physical Exam, Written by Jim Dohn, DC, CHP

Everyone knows regular physical health check-ups are important.
How about regular functional, emotional and spiritual health check-ups?
Do you exercise your body regularly?
Do you have some form of regular meditation or prayer?
Can you touch your toes?
Can you hold a sit up position for 10 seconds?
What’s on your gratitude list? Is it getting longer as you get older?
Have you written a fears and resentments list? Is it getting shorter as you get older?
Is there one other Human Being who knows you completely?
Do you breathe completely and steadily for a time each day?
Do you have a regular service commitment?

Just wondering.


What would you put on this list?