Gentle Workout

Girl Stretching

I was asked to guide a group of ladies through a gentle workout. Below is the routine I developed.

Before beginning or changing your exercise routine, check with your doctor.

Always pay attention to proper posture. Keep your chin in; roll your shoulders up back and down; make your spine as long as possible; tighten your core muscles and your glutes. And keep your knees soft (slightly bent).

For support, all of the following exercises can be done using a chair.

Start by walking/marching/jogging on the spot to warm up your muscles.

ANKLE CIRCLES
Circle each ankle clockwise 10 times then counter-clockwise 10 times.

CALF RAISES
Come up on the balls of your feet then come down slowly onto the entire soles of your feet. Repeat 10-20 times.

Easier Option: Place a weight on your knees and do this while seated.
More Challenging Option: Do this exercise while on a step. Drop your heels slightly below the step when you return to the starting position. (Hold on for balance.)

GENTLE KICKS
Raise your leg 45-90 degrees. Deliberately lift your lower leg straight out then slowly return to 90 degrees and lower to the floor. Repeat 10-15 times per side.

SQUATS
Stand in front of a chair with your feet parallel, shoulder width apart. Sit back to 45-90 degrees. Make sure your knees don’t jut over your toes. Bring your hands in front of you for balance. Slowly return to standing position. Repeat 10-15 times.

More Challenging Option: Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
Even More Challenging Option: Spread your legs slightly beyond shoulder width, toes pointed outward. Squat as above. You will feel this in your inner thighs as well as the front and back of your thighs.

LUNGES
Place one foot in front of the other. Drop the back knee carefully. Don’t let the front knee jut over the toes. Repeat 10-15 times per side.

More Challenging Option: Pause halfway down and halfway up for a double lunge.
Even More Challenging Option: Hold a dumbbell on the same side as the rear leg.

INNER THIGHS (ADDUCTORS)
Bring one foot in front of the other. Draw it across your body and return to starting position (just past hip width). Repeat 10 times per side.

OUTER THIGHS (ABDUCTORS)
Lift your leg out to the side only as high as is comfortable. Repeat 10-15 times.

GLUTES
Stand arm’s-length from the back of a chair or the wall. Hold on for balance. Raise your knee to 90 degrees. Bring your leg down and in one smooth motion without touching your foot to the floor, tighten your glute muscles and gently lift your leg out behind you as far up as possible without rotating your knee or ankle. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.

LOWER BACK
Bend over from your hips while keeping your back flat. Let your arms dangle. “Scoop” your abdominal muscles and slowly round up until standing. Repeat 10 times.

More Challenging Option: Use a barbell and keep your back flat through the entire exercise.

LOWER BACK 2
Come into a lunge position. While keeping the arm close to the body and the elbow by the hip, draw your elbow up, like you’re starting a lawnmower – without a power starter.  Repeat 10-15 times per side.

More Challenging Option: Use a dumbbell.

UPPER BACK
Raise your elbows to shoulder height, palms face-down in front of your chest. Draw your elbows back; return to starting position; extend your arms straight out; again draw your shoulder blades together; return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.

CHEST
Hold your arms at shoulder height at 90 degrees (like football goal posts). Draw your upper arms together, focussing first on bringing the elbows together. Return to starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.

SHOULDERS
Lift your arms straight out from your sides to shoulder height, palms down; return to starting position. Lift both arms straight out in front of you to shoulder height, palms down. Return to starting position. Repeat sequence 10-15 times.

More Challenging Option: Use 2-5 lb. dumbbells.

BICEPS
Hold your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder level, palms up. Draw your hands slowly toward your ears. Return to starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.

More Challenging Option: Use 2-5 lb. dumbbells.

TRICEPS
Clasp your hands above your head, elbows by your ears. Lower your hands behind your head while keeping your elbows where they are. Raise them to starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.
More Challenging Option: Hold a dumbbell with both hands.

ROTATOR CUFFS
Hold your arm at 90 degrees across your chest. Keep your elbow by your side. Rotate your arm away from your body as far back as you can slowly. Return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.

More Challenging Option: Hold a 2-5 lb. dumbbell.

This routine first appeared on Kimberley Payne’s site Thursday, March 27.

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