Stretching Exercises

Excerpt from Chapter 9 - Your Body

1. Stretching Exercises. Minimum maintenance amount recommended: one to three minutes a day. Stretching is the easiest to accomplish of the four physical types of exercise that will help shape your body into a lean, active, vigorous, healthy machine. Stretching takes little time, but is important in helping us to feel our bodies and to avoid injury.

There are many exercises available. Search for "stretching exercises" or "yoga exercises" at your favorite internet search engine to find them. For one example, try sitting on the floor with legs straight and gently reaching towards your toes (or beyond, depending upon current flexibility).

Upon awakening is the most natural time for stretching. But if you are usually lacking time then, an easy alternative time to do stretching exercises is while watching TV or talking on the phone. The keys are intent and a bit of willpower to follow through. To significantly improve your stretching capabilities beyond a maintenance level, a yoga class would be a sound choice.

2. Aerobic Activities. Minimum amount recommended: 10 minutes a day, three times a week. There is widespread not-so-wonderful advice out there telling you that this minimum time is too low. But the evidence collected by Dr. Morehouse at UCLA many years ago (Morehouse, 1975) suggests such a minimum is sufficient to allow most to achieve reasonable fitness. Even this minimum may prove challenging if we have let things slide for decades.

Your choice for a specific aerobic activity is personal and needs to fit what you might enjoy. If just starting out, check with your doctor first. Then, two things are vital:

Choose a low impact exercise without sudden starts, stops, or high knee impact. Possibilities include: swimming, a mini-trampoline (low-impact on the knees), or an exercise machine.

Measure your heart/pulse rate to ensure that you are not overdoing it. A moderate level of intensity is desired. Many exercise machines these days measure heart rate and give appropriate target heart-rate ranges for your age.

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze


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