Health Topics

Healthy Living

April 2010
Corporate Wellness
Don't Just Sit There – Exercise!
Sunita Pant Bansal
My cousin Arvind has this habit of pressing the clenched fist of one hand forcibly into the open palm of the other, at waist level, whenever he stands talking to someone. He says it makes his forearms and biceps powerful! He is right, for it has been discovered that a very small amount of right exercise starts a muscle growing.

If you contract any one of your muscles to about two-thirds of its maximum power and hold that for five to six seconds once a day, it would be enough for the growth process to start!

Did you brush your teeth today? Why did you brush them? Well, there are many good reasons, but probably the real reason is that it is a habit. Similarly, getting the exercise that your body needs must also become a daily habit. Exercise is essential for keeping our vital organs in proper working condition.

Without sessions at a gym or a daily dozen every morning, you can still get all the exercise you need to keep yourself fit, by utilizing the brief periods of idleness during the day.
  • While you are sitting in the restaurant waiting for your food, slowly pull in the stomach, sucking the diaphragm up and up until the whole abdomen is flat from the groin to the chest, then release it little by little. Do it gently - it is the simplest way of building a good posture and a flat tummy.
  • If you want to pick up something from the floor, don’t straddle your legs and bend. Put one foot forward and kneel erectly, or, when it is a light object, keep your knee still and reach straight down. For variety, squat and rise like a jack-in-the-box, it tightens flabby legs.
  • Waiting at a counter for attention? Teeter on your toes a few times to uncramp foot and leg muscles. Clench and unclench the fingers to get the blood speeded up. To tone the muscles round your midriff - draw your abdomen up and in, whenever you think of it - whether sitting or standing.
  • At the phone, instead of doodling, use your free hand to knead your belly or give it a gentle pummeling, and you will be surprised to see how this action tightens the torso muscles.
  • Whenever you go to the toilet, before coming out, stand with your back to the door and try to push firmly against it so that you are touching from head to heels, buttocks, shoulder blades, if possible every vertebra. Do this spine-strengthening stand for five seconds and you will feel a strong pull along your backbone and neck. This ‘stretch’ improves the posture and gets rid of the aches and the cramps in the back and neck, which tend to develop, sitting through the day in the office.
  • Want a firm chin? Push your chin out, pull it back, and drop it. Lift it, then give yourself a five-second message under the jaw, and there you are!
  • If you have some place to stretch your legs in, indulge in the ‘heel stretch’. Just lift your feet and push the heels forward as if trying to push a wall away. Bring your toes up, so you feel the muscles behind your knees pulling like a rope. Count till six and slowly relax. This also relieves general tension.
  • During a long day in the office, the body accumulates tension that is felt most in the back of the neck. In order to release that tension, sit or stand with shoulders straight. Turn your head (not the body) to the right as far as you can as if you were trying to bring your chin over your shoulder. Repeat the movement to the left side. This exercise also helps to firm up the chin and throat.
There are seven essential points to be remembered:
Stretch, while sitting, lying or standing.
Straighten your spine, while standing with your back against something straight.
Roll your neck up, down and round.
Pull in your stomach, while sitting or bending over. Expand your chest, by breathing deeply.
Flex your arms, by pushing, pulling and reaching.
Bend your legs, by squatting, climbing and walking.
Each of these, in doses of a few seconds at a time everyday, will make you slimmer, stronger and peppier 
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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