Most people think that we need to exercise for long hours in a gym using equipment and machines to stay fit. And since most of us can’t spare enough time [or energy] for that, we skip exercise altogether. However, even 20 – 30 minutes of exercise, done in the car while we are being driven is enough to stimulate our metabolism and keep us energised. We could also do them in our cabins.
You can start by a moderate cardio activity like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking all or part of the way to work or go for a walk during your coffee or lunch break.
- Bramhamudra or neck rotation: While sitting in the car, keep your spine straight, shoulders and torso steady. Now, move the face to the left by turning only the neck. Come back to start position and turn to the right. Hold each position for 20 seconds. Repeat the same by tilting the head backwards and forward. This exercise strengthens the neck and improves blood circulation. It also helps correct insomnia.
- Shoulder rotation: Place your fingers on your shoulders and rotate your arms first clock-wise, then anti clock-wise. Repeat 10 times. Doing this improves flexibility of the shoulders and neck and eases tension in the shoulder and neck area.
- Wrist stretch: Extend your arm in front of you with palms up and grab the fingers with the other hand. Gently pull the fingers to stretch the forearm, holding for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. This is especially recommended for those who spend long hours working on a computer.
- Lower back stretch: Sit tall and place the left arm behind the left hip. Gently twist to the left using the right hand to deepen the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. This exercises reduces stiffness in the spine.
- Hip flexion: Sit straight with your abs in and lift the left foot off the floor, a few inches with knees bent. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat with the other leg and do this five times.
- Anulom-vilom: Close your eyes and relax. Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Breathe in from your left. Then close the left nostril with middle and ring finger and open the right nostril and breathe out. Repeat for five counts. This helps regulate blood pressure and is beneficial in migraine, sinus and asthma. Breathing exercises help revitalise the body, bring clarity to the mind and will help your mind and body work in harmony to liberate you from worries, tensions and fatigue.
- Calf strengthening exercise: Sit tall with your hands extended in front at shoulder level. Keep some distance between your feet. Lift your buttocks a few inches off the chair and stay in this position for five counts. Repeat 10 times.
- Stretch your hand straight and hold a pen or pencil at arm’s length. Look at the tip of the pen without blinking the eye. Slowly move the pen two to three inches closer to your eye level and take it back. Repeat this five to eight times.
- Keep your arms stretched sideways with the thumbs up. Look at the left thumb without moving the head. Now, look at the right thumb. Do this five times on each side.
- Move your eyes clock wise and anti-clock wise without moving your head and repeat for 5 rounds. Both these are excellent for relaxing the eye muscles and stimulates blood and nutrient flow to the eye muscles.
- Rub your palms together for a few seconds and place the warm palm on your eyes. This soothes and relaxes your eyes and reduces eye stress.
How our body and mind function are the prime indicators of health. Robust health can be restored by not just recognising the importance of exercise, but also that of food, sunshine, air, rest and relaxation and the effect these have on the functioning of our body.
Also, all wellness programmes must be complemented with a wholesome and nutritious diet. Include natural foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds and herbs, which are rich in nutrients and antioxidants and contribute to wholesome wellness.
This was first published in the August 2012 issue of Complete Wellbeing