Remember to move,
to grow healthy, flexible, strong, serene, alert and often happy,
so you can help create a better existence for yourself and others.
To refresh your mind and spirit, explore nature while some of it remains, spend some time away from human formalities, dogmas,
machines and commercial pursuits.
Have you heard the glaciers melting?
"They have cradled you in custom, they have primed you with their preaching,
They have soaked you in convention through and through;
They have put you in a showcase; you're a credit to their teaching --
But can't you hear the Wild? -- it's calling you.
Let us probe the silent places, let us seek what luck betide us;
Let us journey to a lonely land I know.
There's a whisper on the night-wind, there's a star agleam to guide us,
And the Wild is calling, calling. . . let us go.
~ from the Robert Service poem "The Call of the Wild"
"I only went out for a walk
and finally concluded to stay out till sundown,
for going out, I found, was really going in."
~ John Muir
Regular walkers may finish life later than runners.
In my opinion, most expensive exercise machines (including most seen in infomercials) are not worth the money. If you're considering
buying a Bowflex or a Total Gym, check out the cheaper CrossBow or Body Solid Home Gym. I've never used any of these, though I'm lately tempted by what seems to be the current
best low-cost home gym: The Total Body Works 5000.
A cheaper alternative is to walk, do physical work like gardening, do modified crunches, lunges, squats, pushups,
lift weights, use stretchy exercise bands, practice yoga (it helps to learn to stretch, relax and breathe deeply), and use
the products mentioned below:
Over the past 18 years I've bought and used lots of exercise and yoga videos and lately DVDs -- usually from amazon.com or from collagevideo.com. A few of my current favorites:
Amazon has helpful user reviews on exercise videos and DVDs. So does Collage Video, which also has a user forum and sample clips from many videos, and staff reviews and some magazine reviews. Amazon's prices
are lower. You may want to join the discussion of exercise videos at the remarkably active Video Fitness Forum.
One exercise bargain at amazon is the "Karen Voight Body Sculpting System" which originally cost $99.99, and now
costs a fraction of that -- includes a 25.5-inch stability ball, a pump for it, a yoga mat (68" by 24"), two exercise
DVDs & instruction booklets, and two 3-pound workout balls. The yoga mat, stability ball & workout balls are all green.
I bought one of these kits from amazon, a few months ago, am glad I did. It's a good deal. So far, all amazon.com users who've
commented on this kit give it five stars.
for deep back massage & to improve spine flexibility
The Back Roller is a wonderful tool for improving the health of the back. I bought a similar, earlier
version (called the Ma Roller), 26 years ago, and use it regularly, appreciate its profoundly refreshing effects -- or miss
it when I skip a week or two! Simply by lying on this device, one's body weight creates a deep-pressure massage, releasing
tension and relieving pain. The idea is to let the pressure sink in and take effect slowly in a series of areas of the back
(pausing and relaxing every inch or so, through several deep breaths, rather than rolling continuously) -- thus stimulating
"trigger points" and acupuncture points, on both sides of the spine, and stretching the spine itself -- which actually improves
health throughout the body. I sincerely recommend this product and consider it essential. (This improved version differs from
my Ma Roller only in adding rubber rings on the sides, which keep the wooden device from slipping when you lie on it.)
Another cheap and effective exercise item: the AbWheel -- I use something similar. How does it work? Simply get down on your
hands and knees, grasp the bar on both sides, and let the AbWheel roll out in front of you, then (the harder part) glide back.
This vigorously exercises the abdomen. Developing strong abdominal muscles helps protect the back, lessens the likelihood
of back pain and strain. To work slightly different muscles, aim your rolling out a little to the left, then a little to the
right. If you already have some significant back problem, or if your back is for any reason especially vulnerable, use this
device cautiously, if at all.
"A bear, however hard he tries,
grows tubby without exercise".
~ from Pooh's Little Instruction Book,
by A. A. Milne
"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The
winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves
~ John Muir
To develop dynamic balance
create a garden,
to the restoration
of the world.
"Anyone who has a library
and a garden
wants for nothing."
Mini trampolines (also called rebounders) are exercise tools I find quite helpful, enjoyable and cost-effective (sometimes
as cheap as $20, or up to $60, or more), though several precautions are necessary if one is to buy or use these small trampolines.
On the upside, mini trampolines are a good way to get vigorous aerobic exercise without the stress on joints caused by higher
impact exercises such as jogging. I know of no form of exercise as useful in enhancing digestive & lymphatic systems -- only
by using a mini trampoline for awhile can you understand the unique way these devices provide an internal and whole-body exercise.
However, quite a few folks are injured by using trampolines or mini trampolines, usually when they fall after losing balance
by bouncing too close to the edges, or when they try to bounce too high: just a little bounce is all that's needed to get
the benefits; a few models include a bar you can hold for stability. Also, models vary in build quality, degree of springiness,
ease of assembly/disassembly, weight capacity, size and cost. Some models claim to be easy to fold for storage, when in fact
it's a tough chore to take them apart for storage under a bed, etc. I always just lean mine up against a wall or some furniture,
without bothering to disassemble between sessions. After many years of satisfaction with a mini tramp I bought about 18 years
ago at WalMart, I noticed that my mini tramp was beginning to develop tears in the bounce-surface fabric, so it seemed risky
to keep using it (wouldn't want to sprain an ankle or worse), and repairs are impractical, so I bought a new mini tramp, which
was quite cheap at my local WalMart, yet I'm a little disappointed that this new one has much less bounce/springiness. (However,
some people, especially those new to rebounding, may be better off with a not-too-springy mini tramp: possibly less risky.)
Amazon.com offers numerous models of mini trampolines for sale (their current bestseller costs $39.99; their second-best seller costs $54.75), yet I have no experience with
those models. My advice: instead go to the nearest sporting goods store or other place where you can see and perhaps test
your mini tramp in person before buying -- and avoid shipping costs -- though the shipping cost of amazon.com's $39.99 model
mentioned above is currently just $4.99 -- I've heard of people paying much more for shipping.
(What I'm recommending here are mini tramps which are 36" to 40" in diameter, not the huge trampolines which generally need
to be used outdoors -- I have no experience with those bigger and more costly trampolines, whose diameters may be 8' or 14'
or more -- if you do get one of those big trampolines, it's probably a good idea to buy a trampoline enclosure, for safety.)
Also note that there are more expensive rebounders ($200 up), which claim to be safer and/or better -- if that sort of thing
interests you, see http://www.healthbounce.com/schedule.htm.
In a Prevention Magazine article about mini-trampolines ("Gotta Try It: Bounce Back Into Shape"), Michele Stanton gives these
7 reasons to try rebounding:
1. Increases circulation
2. Burns about 300 calories per hour (based on a 150-pound person)
3. Pampers your joints
4. Improves balance and coordination
5. Encourages you to jump around like a kid
6. Requires limited space
7. Enhances agility
Our prospects for good health and long lives would be enhanced if governments would fund much more health research --
please consider that when you vote. Recommendation: in the U.S., given the distinctly different priorities of the political
parties, vote Democratic, if you care about health.)
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