What Do You Do First Thing?

April 23, 2024

As you know I am a believer in movement for health and well-being. A lot of people believe that the best way to start your day is with a good breakfast. This is not a bad idea, depending on what you are eating. I think, though, that the best way to start the day is to move. You want to move to loosen the joints and gradually warm the muscles so that you can move through your day with ease. There are lots of exercise types that you can use. This includes yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Ji and other soft beginning exercises. I have a morning set up set on my website that is easy to follow and sets you up for the day. It is a mixture of yoga and Qi Gong and some more conventional exercises.

Everyone is different, though. What should you concentrate on to give yourself the best start possible? Because I believe in exercising with good posture, here is what I think is a good approach if you want to use your own exercises. Concentrate on your joints. Start at the top with your shoulders. There are many exercises in Qi Gong that are part of Tai Ji and Ba Qua that open the shoulders in a gentle way. A lot of modalities start with the neck, but I think that if you are making sure you are in a good posture your neck will be ok. Next, move to your hips. The hips to my mind are the most important part of the body. Learning to move correctly and open them up daily is very important. This is especially important true if you are over 50. Older people lose their balance when their hips become less flexible. The single most important exercise for this is deep squats. Try to work up to hold them for at least 2 to 3 minutes. Wall Sits are another great exercise as they help take the rotation out of your hips. This is especially important if you are a runner because hip rotation means your foot is striking the ground each time you stride with a built-in stress. If you don’t correct this, you will develop knee pain. There are other exercises you can do to open and keep your hips flexible but whatever you choose make sure you do them every day.

Next are the knees. The biggest issue here is your hip flexors. Thay are the strongest muscles in the body. If you let them, you will run and walk with your hip flexors and that will end in tears. To fix this you must get your thigh muscles strong and active. Lunges, both front and back are good, or exercises like them. Wall sits fix thigh muscles in a very short time. If you do something to activate the thigh muscles, they will be sore at first because you’ve not been using them. Learn to do any exercise with or for the knees posturally correct. This means do not treat the knee joint as a weight bearing joint. Design your exercise so you don’t put weight on the knee joint.

Next are the ankles. Learn to do foot circles and point and flexes. These keep the ankle flexible. Pay attention to your weight distribution before you start exercising. Is your weight even on both feet? Are you shifted forward or backward from your center line. You tell this by where your weight is centered-on your heels or balls of the feet. Learn to sit in your inguinal crease if you are standing. It is like sitting on shock absorbers.

‘What about the back’, you ask. If you are doing the exercise I have prescribed, or ones designed to cover the joints I’ve discussed, you shouldn’t have back pain. If you do have back pain, then every day you need to do the simple exercise of lying on the ground with both legs up on the chair as discussed in my book.

These are very simple prescriptions for starting your day. These minimal movements should take no more than 12 to 15 minutes every morning. They will start your day with the right energy and help keep you there.

If you have a lot of pain or someone you know does, get in touch with me and I will help you.

To a pain free life,

Cliff


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