Everyday Moves for Functional Fitness

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Everyday Moves for Functional Fitness

Everyday Moves for Functional Fitness
by Carol Argo

Enhance your life and move with greater ease with these four simple moves. The exercises address leg strength, spinal mobility, shoulder flexibility and balance. You will feel better, stronger and less likely to injure yourself. Being fit enables you to take charge and have greater control over your life. So let’s do these right now!

1) Chair Squat – Stand with your back facing an upright solid chair. Align feet hip distance apart with toes forward. Stand about six inches from chair. Keeping chest open and eyes forward, contract the buttocks as you slowly sit down. Keep the weight in the heels. To rise, push through the heels, contract buttocks and abdominals. Maintain the upright chest and head up as you come up to standing. Position the arms crossed in front of the chest. This exercise strengthens the thighs, buttocks and core. With practice you will be able to easily and gracefully get out of chairs and cars. Perform 12x

2) Seated Rotation – You will need a straight back armless chair for this exercise. Sit sideways with your feet firmly planted on floor and toes pointing forward. Inhale while lengthening your spine, then exhale fully as you rotate your torso to the left and hold onto the back of chair. Turn your head as far as it will comfortably go. Breathe deeply and hold this stretch for 5 cycles of breath. Inhale and return to the center and exhale repeating movement to right. This movement will enable you to drive in reverse as you back down the driveway.

3) Shoulder Stretch – Hold onto a belt or strap with both hands. A bath robe tie belt is perfect. Position hands wider than shoulders and pull strap tightly. Begin with arms in front of the body fully extended downward. Inhale and lift the arms over the head and then behind body. Keep your arms straight, shoulder blades down and head up.
If this exercise causes discomfort, perform without the strap. This stretch will create mobility and range of motion in the shoulder. Perform 10x

4) Balance – I recommend bare feet or light weight shoes. From a standing position slowly transfer your weight onto one foot. Keep your base foot grounded by pressing through the entire foot, particularly the big toe. Engage or contract the inner thigh and buttocks of the support leg. Pull in the abdominals, stand tall and find an eye level point of focus. Breathe naturally. The arms can extend outward, upward or palms together at chest center. Standing on one leg strengthens your ankle, leg and core muscles which will help prevent falls. Hold as long as possible or one minute per side.

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