Exercises - Introduction
you have heard it before - exercise, exercise, and more exercise! Is it really
that important? Why do I have to do it now? How much to do? What kind of exercise?
If there is a magical pill for anti-aging,
there is no doubt among leading researchers that exercise is it. Nothing
comes closer to achieving anti-aging effects in our body as exercise.
Researches over and over have shown that those who exercise consistently lives
longer, happier, and get sick less often. The bottom line - do it or die!
From an anti-aging perspective, the
real question is not whether to exercise but
more importantly, what kind of exercise, how much, and how often. This is where
the secret is. To know the details is what separates the master from the amateur.
exercises therefore consist of 3 separate components:
Make no mistake about it! Each
of the components is equally important. It is well known that aerobics
is good for the heart. What is less well known but just as important is that
flexibility training and strength training contributes as much to longevity
as aerobics. As you read further on, you will come to a better understanding
of the reason. Suffice to say at this point that any anti-aging exercise program
must be individually tailored to meet your personal needs, based on your current
physical conditions. As well, the program must include, in a balanced fashion,
all three components mentioned above.
Let us now look at each of the three
components in detail.
Training Program - Introduction
Inflexibility is an important component
of physical deterioration and a critical element in any anti-aging exercise
program. Often misunderstood and under-rated, most people go straight into
an exercise program without warming-up the body and stretching the muscles.
Many people choose not to take the time for stretching as they don't realize
the great benefit of the well-balanced flexibility training program. Others
simply don't know the safest and most effective ways of improving flexibility
and achieving anti-aging results that comes with a solid flexibility program.
You need to learn exactly how to include flexibility
training and stretching into your busy schedule using no more than 5-10 minutes
a day of your time.
Flexibility training is the foundation
of any exercise program because it increases blood flow to the muscle. It also
warms up the key muscles of our body and allows our body to be more pliable
and less prone to injury. Stretching only takes 5-10 minutes a day. Think about
it. The key to what you are trying to do is to have a healthy and active life.
If you are injured, doesn't that defeat the purpose? A simple stretching exercise
program before starting to exercise and during the cool-down period is therefore
mandatory. The lesson is simple: do not embark
in any aerobic program or weight-training program without first doing stretching
exercises for your key muscle groups.
Flexibility training for anti-aging
purposes encompasses comprehensive precision stretching of the 11
major muscle groups in your body. Your muscles are arranged in opposing
muscle groups. While you are stretching one muscle, for example, the biceps,
you are, at the same time, relaxing the opposing muscle group, the triceps.
The concept and principle behind stretching is to increase blood flow to
the muscles, starting with the major muscles with the biggest mass first. By
allowing increased oxygenation and blood flow to the big muscle groups, excessive
blood flow and the nourishment is carried on to the smaller muscle group.
OF FLEXIBILITY TRAINING PROGRAM
The design of the flexibility training
program is a simple routine encompassing precision
stretching of 11 major muscle groups, starting from the major muscle groups
and working to the small muscles. It is designed also to start at
a relaxed sitting position and progressively work to a supine position, ending
in an upright position where you will then be ready to start your aerobic training
or weight training program. While there is no hard and fast rule that all the
stretches must be done in a specific sequence, it is recommended especially
for a beginner that you follow the sequence that is time tested. After you have
done the routine several times, it is easy to remember and it becomes a part
of you automatically. Regardless of what program or in what order you would
like to follow, the important part is to stick to a particular routine so that
you will not inadvertently miss any stretching for a particular exercise group.
- starts in a sitting position. Begin with the big muscles like the chest stretch
where you stretch the pectoris.
After that, stretch the opposing
upper back muscle, which is the latismus-dorsi muscles. Then stretch the shoulder
muscles which are deltoids and trapezius.
- will take you to a laying down position where you work on first the lower
back muscles (lumbar muscles). After
the lumbar muscles, work on the opposing abdominal muscles (rectus abdominus).
This is then followed by the anterior thigh
muscles (quadriceps), followed by the opposing group of posterior thigh muscles
(hamstrings). By this time, most of the large muscle mass is warmed
- Now proceed to a standing position and finish up with the smaller muscle such
as the calf muscles, anterior upper-forearm (biceps) as well as the posterior
Long Does It Take?
Precision stretch routine should
take about approximately 5-10 minutes,
depending on how fast you do it. Please make sure to do it slowly and to allow
full range of motion during each stretch. Critically important is to not
forget to leave each muscle in its stretched position for 15-30 seconds at the
end of each maximum stretch position. Also some find it relaxing
and shake the same muscle loose after each stretch. You may wish to repeat the
stretching as frequently as you wish until you feel that you have fully warmed
up and your muscles are loose and relaxed, prior to moving on to any aerobic
or weight training program. It is also highly suggested that between sets of
weight lifting during the strength training program that you pick out the specific
muscle that is going to undergo the weight training program and do before and
after warm up and cool down stretches of those particular muscles as well. Since
stretching does not involve resistance in weight and you are not concerned about
building the size of the muscle, generally speaking stretching exercise routines
do not change over time. There is no progressive development and advancement
of the stretch other than to push yourself to the limit of the stretch which
your body will tell you accordingly.
are 3 basic techniques that are often used to increase flexibility:
ballistic stretching, proprioceptive
neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), and static stretching.
- Ballistic stretching
Ballistic stretching is often
called dynamic stretching. Rapid bouncing motions are used to promote dynamic
flexibility. This is often used in athletes training for competitive sports
where it's important to promote dynamic flexibility by preparing the tissues
for high speed activities such as that in archery or baseball.
- Proprioceptive neuromuscular
facilitation (PNF) was developed by physiotherapists for use of rehabilitation.
This is more complicated and is not designed for general anti-aging purposes.
- Static stretching
Static stretching involves
slow, gradual and controlled movement of the muscles to a full-range motion.
After the muscle is stretched, it will be maintained in the comfortable
and stretched position for 15-30 seconds. It is important that the stretching
be done in such a way that the muscle can be extended as much as possible
without pain and is held for anywhere from 15-30 seconds. This holding increases
your blood flow and stretches the muscles as well, causing micro-trauma
to the muscle fibers. The micro-trauma that allows the increased blood flow
to warm up the muscles and to carry oxygen to the muscles which promotes
To Do Stretches
Most anti-aging professionals as
well as exercise physiologists agree that stretching
should be done on a daily basis. It is especially effective in the morning,
before exercises and after exercises. Since stretching is easy to
do and it can be done without any equipment and in any place, it is something
that anyone can do at any time of the day to relieve any tightness, muscle soreness
created by stress or daily life. Stretching exercises can be done when in the
subway, in the office, or in a restaurant.
Up Before Stretch
Before embarking on any serious
stretching, warm up the muscle groups by simply moving the muscle groups around.
Warmed muscles are much more easily stretched than cold muscles and the
muscle that is used is more pliable and has more ability to be stretched. You
may notice that when you wake up in the morning, it is more difficult to stretch
your muscles as compared to during the afternoon when you already have been
using the same muscles for a period of time. Stretch
before and after exercise. Do not proceed to aerobic exercise without stretchingStretching improves dynamic
flexibility and decreases the chance of injury. Warming up with stretches before
aerobic activity increases the performance of your muscle groups by increasing
blood flow to the muscles. The increase in blood flow increases oxygen levels
for nutrition as well as carrying away waste products of the aerobic activity
during the course of exercise. It is equally important to stretch your muscles
after any aerobic exercise. The reason is simple: during and after the exercise
a lot of waste products are built up in the course to produce energy, drive
the muscles and drive your body forward. These waste products need to be carried
out of the blood stream into the detoxification centers where it is eliminated.
Stretching of the muscles will allow the increase in blood flow to these muscles
and facilitate this function.
Between Strength Training Exercises
before and after strength training exercises.
A complete anti-aging exercise program incorporates a moderate strength-training
program to increase lean body mass and strength. Strength training involves
progressive resistance exercises, commonly using weights either in free form
or through machines. Those of you who are currently lifting weights know that
lifting weights is done in sets whereby you lift the desired weight through
a series a number of times. 8-12 repetitions is the ideal numbers of repetitions
for anti-aging purposes. After you have done these 8-12 times, your muscles
are sore. The reason is because during the weight lifting activities, metabolism
by-products such as lactic acid are built up. Stretching allows increased blood
flow to carry away these waste metabolites and allow the muscles to regenerate
more quickly. It is important to stretch each specific muscle between sets
of strength training. It is equally important to stretch them before and after
the strength-training program. A simple way to incorporate stretches into
the weight-training program is to do an extra set at 30-40% of what you intended
to lift as a preliminary warm-up set. After you finish one exercise group, go
to another exercise group. There are 9 major exercise groups in the body and
complete stretching of these 9 groups on a pre warm-up basis should not take
more than 5-10 minutes. The benefits are immense and should not be undervalued.
KINDS OF STRETCHES
Very simple stretches can be done
anywhere, at any place without any equipment. You will find it simple and straightforward.
Besides prescribed stretch exercises for individual muscles, you can consider
general stretching exercises such as yoga, qigong, tai chi, and the various
forms of martial arts warm up activities as a substitute. The key fact to
remember is that while there is no one magic bullet and no holy grail in stretching,
those who stretch, regardless of what form or modality, will benefit more than
those who don't.
Training And Age
doesn't matter how old you are. You can benefit from flexibility training. In
fact, the older you are, the more you should consider flexibility training not
only once but sometimes 2-3 times a day. Researchers have shown that
the greatest increase in flexibility occurs between the age of 6 and12 and levels
as we grow older. Flexibility declines after age 25 due to the decrease in the
diameter of the muscle fibers and the connective tissues associated with it.
How active a person is also affects his or her flexibility. Those who are more
active are generally more flexible than those who are not. Inactivity causes
shortening and contraction of muscle fibers. You can see those who are inactive
in the nursing homes generally end up with the muscle contraction that is beyond
help. Regular stretching therefore reduces such contractures and is the key
to increasing the functionality of your skeletal system and thus your longevity.
Importance Of Combining
Cardiovascular Training And Flexibility Into One
Anti-Aging Exercise Program.
It should be obviously to you now
that flexibility training is an integral and an important part in any anti-aging
program. Flexibility training forms the foundation of the pyramid of any anti-aging
exercise regimen. Flexibility training consists of stretches that can be easily
done without any tools. It can be done at any place, at any time and without
Stretch Training Routine
Exercise No: S1
Muscle stretched: Pectoris Major
- Sit upright with shoulders back
and chest out.
- Clasp your hands behind your buttocks.
- Slowly lift your hands up face
upward from your body until they have reached their furthest comfortable position.
- Keep your chest out and your chin
in without hunching over.
- Hold in this stretched position
continuously for 15-30 seconds.
Exercise No: S2
Area: Upper Back Stretch
Muscle stretched: Latismus Dorsi
- Raise both arms up vertically
to the sky.
- Grasped both hands together, palms
facing the sky and parallel to the floor.
- Reach out and attempt to touch
the palm of your hands to the sky until you feel a comfortable stretch in
your upper back.
- Hold in the furthest comfortable
stretched position for at least 15-30 seconds.
- Shake out the shoulders and return
to relaxed position.
Exercise No: S3
Muscles: Deltoids, Trapezius
- Sit upright in a comfortable position.
- With your extended right hand,
reach across your body. Your arm should touch your chest if possible.
- Put your left arm in front of
the right arm. Push the right arm towards the chest.
- Turn your head towards the right.
- You should feel your right shoulder
- Hold for 15-30 seconds at the
maximum comfortable stretched position.
- Shake out the shoulders and return
to relaxed position.
Exercise No: S4
Area: Low Back
- Lie on your back with your knees
- Grasp your hands together and
hold your shins firmly.
- Gently pull both knees toward
your chest lifting your feet off the floor in the process. Try to touch the
knees to your chest.
- Once you feel a comfortable stretch
in your lower back, hold in this position for 15-30 seconds.
Note: If you have back pain or after
prolong sitting, does this stretch whenever you get a chance. You may want to
get a friend to put weight on your knees to help them reach your chest in the
process if you desire more stretch.
Exercise No: S5
- Get down on your hands and knees,
resembling a cat.
- Let your abdomen slowly drop down,
allowing your lower back to bend downward and stretch. Hold in this position
for 15-30 seconds.
- Next, slowly arch your back as
much as possible and hold for at least 5 seconds.
- Now sit back on your heels with
extended arms out straight. Hold again for 5-10 seconds.
Note: A well-done cat stretch takes
a little while. Do not hurry for maximum effect.
Exercise No: S6
Muscles: Gluteus (also spine, hip,
and lower back get stretched as side benefit)
- Sit on the floor with both legs
extended directly in front of you.
- Bend your right leg over your
left leg, keeping your right foot flat on the floor outside the left knee.
- Place your left elbow on the outside
aspect of your right knee, and extend your right arm behind you with your
palm flat on the floor for support.
- Slowly twist your upper body to
the right while looking over your right shoulder simultaneously.
- Apply light pressure with your
left elbow on the outside of your right knee as you twist. Be sure to keep
your body upright at all times.
- Once you have reached a comfortable
stretched position, hold it for 15-30 seconds.
- Switch to the other side and repeat.
Note: This is a wonderful stretch
for the entire spinal column also.
Exercise No: S7
Area: Anterior Thigh
- Lie face down on a mat.
- Lift your right leg up towards
- Reach around with your right hand
and grasp your foot.
- Slowly pull downwards, stretching
your quadriceps to the furthest comfortable position.
- Hold in this position for 15-30
Exercise No: S8
Area: Posterior Thigh
- Sit on a mat with legs straight
ahead but spread apart.
- Extend your arms out in front
of you and slowly lean over, trying to touch your chest to the mat as far
- Once you feel a comfortable stretched
hamstring, hold this position for 15-30 seconds.
Exercise No: S9
Area: Front Upper Arm
Position: Standing or sitting
- Stand upright with your feet apart
in comfortable position.
- Make a fist and put your right
hand against a bar something you can hang onto. Your thumb should be touching
the bar and your arm should be parallel to the floor.
- Slowly turn away from the bar
until you feel a comfortable stretch in your biceps.
- Hold this position for at least
Exercise No: S10
Area: Back Upper Arm
Position: Standing or sitting
- Stand or sit, with shoulders back
and chest out.
- Raise your arm overhead, with
your elbow bent and your upper arm in a vertical position.
- Keeping this position, grasp the
right hand with your left hand and pull your right hand down. If you cannot
reach your right hand, you may want to hold a towel with your right hand so
that the left hand can hold onto the towel instead as an extension of your
right hand. Sustain this until you feel a comfortable stretch of your triceps.
- Hold this position for 15-30 seconds.
- Repeat stretch for other arm.
Exercise No: S11
- Put the sole of the top half of
your right foot against the wall. Slide your right heel as close towards the
wall as possible.
- Slowly lean forward towards the
wall, stretching your calves.
- Once you have stretched your calf
to the furthest comfortable position, hold for 15-30 seconds.
- Switch legs and repeats.
Note: If you plan to do cardiovascular
exercise involving the legs, repeat this stretch as frequently as possible to
increased blood flow to the lower extremities.
You should now have better understanding
of the importance of stretching and flexibility training. No anti-aging exercise
program is complete without stretching and this cannot be over-emphasized. Regardless
of how much knowledge you have, no knowledge can turn to action until you do
it. Take action now to incorporate that as
part of your regular exercise routine on a daily basis.
Forward | Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter
2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter
4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter
Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter
11 | Chapter 12 | Bibliography