Jun 12, 2009

workout without machines

This post is not on yoga per se, but how to do warming up or full workouts without wasting money on all types of equipment. [By the way, they have invented another marvelous instrument last week which is just a table-length big and is said to give a thorough workout to all your muscles. There was a big ad of it on one health TV channel.]
Let us agree that weights and machines do achieve what none of what we will be telling below can ever do - in terms of getting you bulging muscles, a wrestler's body, etc etc. But by doing what we tell you [and it is no invention, you will soon see, but a reminder of what is all around you and inside you] you will still burn a lot of calories, and give exercise to all your muscles and ligaments and joints, and viscera too. Such simple exercises will also gel very well with yoga and meditation. These will also be OK for the aged, infirm and those recuperating.

1. Walking is one of the best exercises ever discovered. Walk briskly, and when you start panting or feeling even slightly uncomfortable, take rest and start again. Walk in cool air but not in chilly winds. If it is warm, it's OK; but it should not be too warm. If it is sultry, take some water when resting in between. It should also not be too windy. A slow walk is not that beneficial, but it too is better than no exercise at all, especially for the sick and those chair-bound for long hours. Move arms to and fro, briskly if you can. In between, move them sideways. If you are perfectly healthy, jog or run along with quick walk. For walking to be useful as an exercise, it has to be faster and for longer periods than comfortable. It has also to be regular - daily or nearly so. If you have to burn calories, and you are perfectly fit, you must walk or jog or run rigorously. But if you apprehend a health problem due to long and brisk walk [such as due to age or family cardiac history or a long-forgotten spinal injury], you must consult doctor.
2. But walking requires that you get ready and go out. Except for a few places on the earth, the walking trek would either be dusty or cold or hot or windy - at least in some part of the year. It might even rain or snow. You may not have a park or garden or jogging trek near you. Or you may just not have the inclination to first go ten floors down and then go walking.
Here come the exercises that we are recommending, to give you the required workout - and benefits of long walk - without any need to go out.

1. Stand on the floor in loose-fitting and light clothes and without any type of shoes. [If the flooring is cold, stand on a folded bedsheet or mat.] Take care that you have not eaten anything in the last around two hours except for some water or non-alcoholic beverage. Also make sure that the room is not closed/ stuffy/ too much perfumed/ without ventilation and too hot/cold/sultry. Switch on fan on low speed if it is slightly warm.
2. Start walking [first very slowly and then slightly faster] either without moving from the place OR walk a few steps forward and then come back without turning back [that is, walk reverse]. Do it till you are slightly tired, say for 3-5 minutes. When doing this type of walk without moving from the place, do not keep the location of the feet stationary. Rather walk - move one foot slightly forward and the other backward; then bring both feet together; then bring the first foot backward and the other forward; keep repeating this cycle.
3. Now, while doing 2, stretch your arms and move them forward and backward, clapping as they reach their farthest in front and behind you. Do so for 1-2 minutes. Add leg movement from knee [that is, lift your feet high while walking.] This movemnt of all four limbs can conitinue for 1-2 minutes [depending on time in hand and your physical condition.]
4. Slow down. Take rest if you need to, otherwise keep walking slowly. This time, fix your sight on something in front and take a turn to your lift while walking. Without force, let your body bend to left as much as it can. While continuing to walk and with sight fixed, come back to normal and continue towards right. Do it two turns to each side and come to normal [facing in front].
Now on, the exercises are going to be brisker.
5. Bring your arms in front of the chest and take them apart as if pulling a tight spring. Repeat it about 25-30 times; if you have a spondylitis problem, pull the arms away in a relaxed position.
Now stretch the arms in front, with palms facing down, and pull them near the chest again as if pulling a tight spring. Repeat for 25-30 times. Keep doing walking all the while.
6. This is the final exercise before you slow down. While still walking / slightly jogging, dance. Dance as rhythmically and as wildly as you can. Jump if you like, twist the body if it is comfortable, laugh loudly [without sound ] and make faces as if you've gone mad, but don't overdo so that you do not hurt yourself. Keep dancing as much as you can. If it is OK otherwise , do it till you pant and are tired and sweating. Enjoy it to the hilt; keep worries aside; suspend your thought process; just dance.
7. Once you think it is enough for you, slow down. Walk still, but slowly. Do the exercises of stretching the limbs and turning around as said above, but very slowly. Do it for half a minute to 2-3 minutes depending upon how much dancing you have done. Then lie down in shavasana for 1-2 minutes, before going for other exercises / yoga.
For most people, this much exercise with pranayama will be good enough daily fitness regime. See these posts [1, 2] for yoga procedures that you might like to do after a thorough warming up.