We are in the eleventh week of our focus on fitness program.
Our outcome is twelve weeks of strategies to help you manifest greater mental and physical health from maintaining great exercise habits and rituals. With a comprehensive focus on fitness it is easier to maintain your energy, endurance and enjoyment for life to insure your long term health and wellness.
Last week we discussed basic squatting and stepping routines and this week we will be focused on jumping, lunges and rebounding. Constantly developing the leg bones, joints and muscles is an essential area to focus for fitness. Whether you participate in sports or simply lead an active life it is important to continually enhance your agility, balance, stability and strength.
Climbing stairs, lifting objects, standing and walking requires strong back, core and leg muscles. Weak back, core and leg muscles can lead to serious hip, knee and back injuries.
A great way to maintain your strength and prevent injuries is by learning and performing proper jumping, lunging and rebounding exercises. They are simple to do and can be done anytime and anywhere you have a few spare minutes.
Start Slowly to Build Momentum
A simple caution is advised with performing jumps, lunges and rebounding to insure your safety. Always perform these in an aware, deliberate and focused state. If you have any musculature or structural issues it is best to go easy and slow in order to allow your body to adjust and strengthen the joints and muscles. Be aware of the foot, knee and hip positions to maintain your balance and stability. Over time you can gradually increase the intensity, number of repetitions and range of motion to improve stamina and strength.
We are meant to be active flexible and mobile our entire life so it is imperative to focus on developing our back, core and leg muscles for a full range of motion in order to enjoy life to the fullest. Applying these simple routines adds more opportunity and variety to help strengthen the abs, calf, quad, hamstring, glut and back muscles. You will also be simultaneously conditioning and strengthening the bones, ligaments and tendons in many areas of the body.
These exercises are so easy to do and even when you do not have access to equipment you can enjoy an intense and fast workout when incorporated into a high intensity interval training with up to eight sets of 30 second exercises followed by 90 seconds of active rest.
Full Body Benefits
When you do a jumping exercise such as jumping jacks, jumping rope, standing forward jump or static jump up you are developing your full body to work together.
Be sure to let your feet, knees and legs act as shock absorbers to cushion the movement and help you maintain your balance and stability. Jumping is great for developing overall core strength and muscle tone. Even your internal organs receive a nice work out with jumping exercises. Jumping rope is great for eye, hand and muscle coordination.
Lunges Enhance Your Agility & Strength
Another area many people need fitness training is for properly getting in and out of cars, chairs and couches. While it may sound a bit silly many people are injured when they turn or twist their body during these basic activities. Often this is a result of poor stabilizer muscles and strength. Maintaining the balance, flexibility and strength to easily sit down and stand up under all situations is essential for long term health. You can greatly enhance your agility and strength by adding a variety of lunges to your weekly routine.
Lunges are simply extending one foot away from the other foot and doing a modified squat. (Please review Part 10, for a refresher on squatting exercises).
- For example, with your hands on your hips you can pick up and move your right foot forward about 3 feet
- Then do a controlled downward squatting motion keeping the right knee directly over the right foot.
- Next, use your right foot to propel you back to a standing position and also use your left leg for stability and support.
- Do this several times and then shift to the other foot.
To develop all the muscles equally be sure to do a combination of forward, rear, left and right as well as lunges to 45 degrees forward and rear. This way you are developing full 360 degree core stability and strength.
A great way to initially add more safety and stability while doing lunges is to use ski poles for better balance and stability. They will often help reassure seniors while also helping to build the upper body strength at the same time.
Energize with Rebounding
Rebounding is a simple and effective routine to energize, strengthen and tone every muscle in the entire body.
Using a well built mini trampoline is an easy, effective and efficient way to enjoy a full body work out in minimum time. Due to its low impact, special dynamics and versatility there are a wide range of exercises that can be performed on a rebounder. While they have been gaining popularity for two decades most people do not fully appreciate or understand the amazing benefits they offer.
An additional benefit of rebounding is the circulation of lymph in the lymphatic system which is vital for your health, immune system and longevity.
The art and science of lymphology and rebounding will be covered in more detail in a future article. If you do not have a rebounder yet you can replicate some of the movements and benefits by doing toe raises. Simply go from a standing position and raise up on the balls of the feet and toes and then return to standing. You can do both feet simultaneously or one foot at a time. Doing this with a slight bounce action is somewhat similar to rebounding when you are away from one.
After you are more comfortable doing various jumping, lunging and rebounding you can begin to do them with light weights to further enhance your level of balance and strength. Doing these fairly simple routines with an equal weight in each hand is a great way to enhance and strengthen the back, core, hip and leg muscles. An alternate way is to do them wearing a back pack with sand bags in it.
As previously mentioned falls are one of the greatest risks to seniors and result in many significant life changing injuries. Doing jumping, lunging and rebounding will help protect you from this risk. Be sure to do your part to encourage the seniors in your life to apply these suggestions also.
With these additional areas to focus on fitness you will be improving your core strength and stability each day. It is always important to develop and train the total body system to deal with any and every physical situation that could arise during your daily life to better maintain your long term health and wellness. Our focus on fitness with basic jumping, lunging and rebounding routines offers great suggestions to help you easily and safely deal with the physical demands of everyday life.
Mastery Actions Plan
Watch an Example of Walking Lunges
Watch a DVD or click over to youtube to see additional video clips that demonstrates a variety of jumping, lunging and rebounding exercises.
I own both a Needak and Urban Rebounder and find they offer good products and educational materials.
After you have developed good balance, flexibility and range of motion you can progress to using light weights to further improve your fitness. Once you establish a comfort zone be sure to add new variations to increase your stability, stamina and strength.
Our next blog post will share:Part 12: Focus on Fitness