Kerri Hollywood  |  Community Recreation, Personnel Support Programs

Here are my 5 favorite movements and why they are meaningful. All of us should be doing these meaningful movements anytime, anywhere, no matter our age. These movements can make a huge impact on our life and overall health. So remember to maintain your mobility and functional movement by doing these and your body will thank you for it.

AND…  If you think you will find these movements too easy, don’t worry! There are always ways to make them more challenging. Take a look!

Walking
Walking is still one of the best – maybe the best non-impact exercise that EVERYONE can do – no matter what your age.

  • It’s a great social activity
  • Does not require any equipment
  • Helps you maintain a healthy body weight
  • Tones your Muscles and your Mind
  • Helps prevent and manage many health conditions
  • Most importantly it gets you out of your chair

 How do you make it more challenging?

  • Add walking poles to create a full-body workout
  • Add a weighted walking vest
  • Use walking intervals at different speeds to challenge your pace
  • Lengthen your stride with every step (or walk with someone who has longer legs than you do)

Dead Lift
The Dead Lift exercise works more muscles than any other exercise out there. Many exercise experts would say if you can only do one exercise, this is the one to do.

  • More muscles are worked
  • It’s safe, very little equipment is needed
  • It’s a real life lift (groceries, etc.)

How do you make it more challenging?

  • Increase the weight you are lifting
  • Book an appointment with a Personal Trainer or Movement Coach to teach you the real nitty-gritty of the Dead Lift (there is actually a lot involved to do it correctly).

The Bridge
The bridge may not look like much, but it’s full of benefits. It works the posterior chain – the big muscles on the back side of the body that often are asleep these days because most of us sit too much.

  • Counter acts the sitting position stretching out the hip flexors
  • It strengthens the core
  • By getting the glutes and hamstrings and core working more often, usually means reduced knee and back pain
  • If you cannot get down to the floor – you can even try it in bed

How do you make it more challenging?

  • Add a band above your knees so as you push your hips up, you also push outward against the band
  • Lift the arms up and away from the body. Add dumbbells in your hands for more core activation and focus.
  • Extend one leg and hold (see which side lasts longer)
  • Pull downward on a band to activate the core on the lift

Brettzel Stretch
Okay … it’s true. I am NOT the only one that calls this stretch the “Brettzel”.  There is actually a lot of research and background on this one.  And it’s quite an amazing corrective exercise. Thanks to Functional Movement Guru Grey Cook and Brett Jones and friends.

Check out: http://www.functionalmovement.com/exercises/brettzel

And the Brettzel story at: http://www.dragondoor.com/articles/the-brettzel-story/

  • The Brettzel is a total body mobility exercise. A functional movement exercise – so it doesn’t get much better than this!
  • This stretch improves everything… from hips to thoracic spine.

How do you make it more challenging?
Well, you don’t really need to make this one more challenging. You just need to do it more often. What you should do is pay close attention on how to do it and do it safely and then get better and better at it. Here are some helpful tips:

  • When you begin, lay on either side with one knee up, the other down in a neutral position. The knee that is ‘up’ should be at the height of your belly button or higher if you can. You can also place a small pillow or rolled towel under that ‘up’ knee as well
  • Support your head with a small pillow or towel for comfort
  • If it is too difficult to grab the ankle of the leg that is behind the back, then use a neck-tie or belt as a strap to wrap around and reach for that instead
  • Remember to breathe big. It will be the big inhales and exhales that deepen the stretch
  • If you find one side more challenging than the other, repeat that side more often until you find balance returning
  • DO this stretch often. The benefits your body will receive will be HUGE

Getting Up
When was the last time you laid down on the floor and got up again? How did that go? How did that feel? Some research studies show that your ability to get up is a big predictor of how well you are and can determine your life-span.

  • Each time you get up, try to use less and less support from your hands and body.

How do you make it more challenging? 
Well, you don’t really need to make this one more challenging either. You just need to do it more often… until you can do it and do it well.

  • The less support you need from your hands, body or the floor, the more healthy you are
  • Sometimes this means you need to lose some weight and work on your mobility and flexibility in order to get this one down-pat. But that is okay. Do it.  Remember this exercise is an indicator of how ‘well’ you are. If this exercise/movement is your only goal this year – make it happen! For you and your health.

Good Luck and Get MOVING !