While brisk walking is good for cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and strength training is also important. Women tend to have weak upper bodies and our upper limbs and back benefit from using arm weights. When I do arm weights routines with my patients, I try to do the exercise with them using five pounds weights for myself. I use the exercises featured in the book, Strong Women Stay Young by Miriam Nelson.
This week I have felt like a relative of the Tin Man, with a stiff back, neck and shoulders. We spend so much time sitting with our spines in a flexed position and seldom stretch our joints to their end range. So I pulled out my recently neglected Pilates DVD, Pilates Complete for Everyone with Karen Garcia. I have reviewed a number of Pilates routines and this is my favourite. There is no unnecessary chatter and the background set is very basic. I can pick a 10 minute routine if I am in a hurry, or do a 35 minute one when I have the time. There are about 20 different options of various lengths and difficulty. I found this DVD at our public library and it has been a very worthwhile purchase.
Some people prefer a gym or class, but I prefer to exercise at home. The money I save on club memberships and the time saved going out in the evening is put to more enjoyable uses.
Many of my patients come to therapy expecting a passive treatment, perhaps a massage or machine that will magically rejuvenate them. Our muscles have to be used and our joints moved to improve our strength and flexibility.
And I feel so good after my pre-dinner workout!