Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lower Abdominal Muscles with Bench and Free Weight

Sit on the narrow edge of a bench. Hold onto each side. Hold up a free weight that will give you a good workout with the top of your feet (under the circular part of the free weight). Your knees should be perpendicular and your thighs should be parallel to your hips. Exhale and bring your thighs up. Use your lower abdominal muscles to lift your legs about tow inches from being parallel to your hips.
Repeat for four sets of ten repetitions.

Hug your knees for 10 seconds as needed before, in between and after sets.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Abdominal and Glute Exercise

Rest on your forearms and elbows facing the ceiling. Lift your hips. This activates your gluteus maximus. Bend your left leg and rest on the left foot. Extend your right leg, pointed or flexed, and move it straight from in front of you to the right side. This activates your abdominal muscles. Repeat for four sets of ten repetitions. Then do the same with your left leg while keeping your right leg bent.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Active Plank

There are several variations you can do with a plank (for abdominal muscles), and you can find some by searching for past plank posts. One simple and effective variation is to get in the plank position, with your head, neck, back and hips in a level position, and slowly bring your hips and buttocks up while keeping your legs straight. Return slowly to the starting position. Repeat for four sets of 10 repetitions, or until you fatigue. 

When you finish, lie on your back and hug your knees for 10 seconds. Repeat as needed. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Medicine Ball for Lower Back

Grab a medicine ball that will give you a workout (not too easy or hard) With your legs shoulder width apart and knees a little bent, hold the ball tightly over your head. Bring it down in from of you and let it "bounce" about an inch over the floor. [If you let it hit the floor hard while holding onto it, I believe the friction forces will travel up your arm to your spine, skull and brain, and you don't need that.) Bring the ball back up over your head in a moderate speed and about two to four inches behind your head (with arms straight up). Repeat for four sets of ten repetitions if you can.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Art, Thoughts and Health

I just finished reading How Plato and Pythagoras Can Save Your Life by psychotherapist Nicholas Kardaras. One topic he wrote about is how keeping your thoughts high on nature, art, beauty and mathematics can affect you and your health at a cellular level. Everything has a vibration, and keeping in sync with these can boost your mind and health.

Serendipitously, I saw an article about something similar in the Health & Fitness section of the Epoch Times of Sunday February 15, 2015. The article is How Awe and Beauty Can Boost Your Health by Yasmin Amwar. Certainly, you need awe and wonder to learn about your body and take on working out each time. She writes that bad emotions boost the production of cytokines which are associated with inflammation and Type 2 diabetes. A recent study found that depressed patients had high levels of cytokine INF-alpha. The researchers found that the people with these emotions had lower levels of cytokines. Cytokines may boost neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.

Psychologists at UC Berkeley conducted two experiments of 200 young people, who recorded how many times a day they felt good emotions like awe, amusement, compassion, joy, love, contentment and pride. Gum and cheek samples showed that those who experienced more of these emotions, especially awe, amazement and wonder. 

Psychologist Dacher Stellar, co-author of the study, said that the relationship between the cytokines and emotions may be bidirectional; researchers are not sure which comes first. But who cares. If you feel lousy, take a walk, preferably by the beach, listen to relaxing music, look at your favorite art, paint, dance, or read an inspiring book.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Stretch Your Hips Using a Bosu Ball

I just finished another Martha Graham dance intensive. I felt that my hips and lower back were a bit stiff, maybe because it is winter time and I had not taken such classes since the summer. In between doing sit-ups on the Bosu ball in the gym, I discovered I can use it to stretch my hips.

Place your lower back on the Bosu ball's center. Place your feet on the floor and bend your knees. Move your right knee toward the floor. Do not force your knee. The key is to feel a stretch in your right front hip. Use your right hand, if you want, to get your right thigh closer to the floor. Most likely, your right knee will be outside your left leg. Do what feels right. Hold five to ten seconds and do as many times as you feel are helpful.

Now, keep your left leg bent and bend your right leg the other way: have your right knee point away from your left knee. You may want to use your right hand to "help" your right leg.
Hold five to ten seonds and do as many times as you feel are helpful.

Now repeat the two previous paragraphs for the left hip: substitute left for right and right for left.

My third book, Pocket Guide to Fitness, is available on and If you look up my name on those Web sites, you will find my other books The Boy in a Wheelchair and Life, Work and Play: Poems and Short Stories. These two books are on my Web site

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Eating Before, During or After Exercise

I am not an expert in this area but found the article Add Sugar for Prolonged Hard Exercise by Dr. Gabe Mirkin in the Health & Fitness section of The Epoch Times of November 7-13, 2014, very useful. Below is a summary.

I follow my intuition on what to eat before or after exercise. When you are in touch with yourself, this is usually a safe bet. I don’t eat or drink anything except for coffee (at times) for half an hour before and after I exercise. When I have run the marathon, I have had a few Power Bars, and one time even a sandwich. This is fine for intense or long endurance workouts.

During exercise, muscles use sugar and fat, and, to a lesser extent, protein. For exercise at a relaxed pace, food and drink is not necessary unless hungry or thirsty. I would add that this is true hunger or thirst, and does not apply to times you may be thinking about pizza while you exercise! For intense exercise periods of more than 70 minutes, sugar should be consumed before and while you exercise. There is no advantage to restricting sugar during intense training, as it will not “teach” muscles to get along with less sugar. Carbohydrate loading, used by athletes mostly in the past, also is not effective. Athletes would restrict their carbohydrate intake for four days to “empty” their muscles of stored sugar or glycogen, and then eat a regular diet with extra carbohydrates for three days, all extra carbohydrates beyond what a muscle can store are turned into fat.
Dr. Mirkin wrote that athletesc an store the maximum amount of sugar in their muscles by eating their usual diet and cutting back on training for three days before a competition. A regular meal should be eaten three hours prior to an endurance workout and the workout should not be started on a full stomach. The meal should not be composed of simple sugars. 

Sugary foods and drinks cause blood sugar levels to rise. The pancreas releases insulin which causes sugar to enter cells. This leads to low blood sugar levels which can cause dizziness or feeling weak and tired, because the brain uses sugar from the blood. Simple sugars are to be added five to ten minutes before and during long endurance competition. Caffeine can also be used at these times, as it speeds up the rate at which sugar enters muscle cells. A combination of glucose, fructose and sucrose is most effective. (Sucrose is a sugar composed of both glucose and fructose.) However, the need for both glucose and fructose are needed during intense exercise. Sugary drinks can be used throughout intense exercise periods of more than 70 minutes. Sugary drinks, according to the doctor, should be used only during or after exercise.

Contracting muscles take up sugar from blood quickly, so there is no danger or high blood sugar levels (for non-diabetics) if sugary drinks are ingested during exercise. This protection (of not having high blood sugar due to contracting muscles) lasts for up to an hour after the workout is completed.
For endurance events of more than three hours, protein, solid foods and salt should also be ingested.

 My third book, Pocket Guide to Fitness, is available on and If you look up my name on those Web sites, you will find my other books The Boy in a Wheelchair and Life, Work and Play: Poems and Short Stories. These two books are on my Web site