Try this safe, 5-minute workout. It was given to me by a close friend who learned it from her Pilates instructor.
This sequence exercises all of the important muscles and is a fantastic way to start the day.
And it isn’t too strenuous.
If you can complete these free-standing, so much the better but it is fine to hold on to something for balance.
Do each exercise 5 times, first with the Right and then with the Left.
- R knee up to waist height – swing lower leg from side to side, 5 to R and 5 to L, then change legs and complete the sequence with the L knee up.
- Hold R knee up high and rotate lower leg 5 times clockwise and 5 times anti-clockwise. Then repeat with the L knee help up high.
- Foot rolls outwards and inwards. With feet flat on ground, roll first your R foot then your L foot. As you roll your foot, feel that your thigh and knee are held straight – 5 rolls to the R side of your foot and 5 rolls to the L side. Then change to complete the routine on your L foot.
- Further foot rolls. For this exercise, place your R foot behind you on a pillow or a ball and roll your L foot inwards then outwards, 5 times. Change and complete the exercise with your L foot behind you. To make this exercise even more effective, bend your knees in an upward and downward movement at the same time!
- With your feet together, roll your hips, thighs, knees and ankles 5 times clockwise and 5 times anti-clockwise. Try to keep your body upright!
These can all be done standing in front of a mirror to check that you are holding your shoulders down and your head upright.
1. Hold your arms straight down at your sides. Using first the R arm then the L, create a small circle by rotating your arm from the shoulder and keeping your arm straight – 5 times clockwise and 5 times anti-clockwise.
2. Now repeat the same exercise but holding your R arm straight up above your shoulder, create a small circle with your straight arm, 5 times clockwise and 5 times anti-clockwise. Repeat with your L arm.
3. Repeat this exercise holding first your R arm then your L arm straight out in front of you. Again, rotate your straight arm from your shoulder 5 times clockwise and 5 times anti-clockwise.
4. Now for a harder challenge – extend your straight R arm behind you as high up as you can (without bending forward). Complete 5 small circles clockwise and anti-clockwise, then do the same with your L arm.
5. Extend your arms sideways as close to shoulder height as you can and repeat the same routine – first with your R arm then with the Left.
6. Finally for your arms, stretch your straight R arm across your body as high as is comfortable and then complete your 5 small circles clockwise and 5 small circles anti-clockwise. Repeat with your L arm.
7. Find a comfortable place to lie flat for this routine:
(a) Bring your R knee to your chest and straighten, then your L knee and straighten. 5 times each.
(b) Then raise both knees to your chest and straighten your legs – 5 times.
(c) With your hands behind your knee for support, rotate each bent leg 5 times from R to L then L to R.
8. Stand up and move to a step (the top step of stairs will do), step up and down twice, beginning with the R leg and then the L leg.That is the complete routine.
It probably takes you longer to read it than it will to carry out the various tasks but once your routine is established, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can make a life-changing difference to your fitness.
Next time, try this:
BEFORE starting the routine, stand tall, head erect and shoulders down then slowly bend and towards touching your toes. Circle your arms gently to the right and left and slowly roll upwards again, feeling your spine stack again, slowly. Then AFTERWARDS, when you have finished the 5-minute routine, try again. This isn’t part of the 5-Minute Workout – it’s just a way of showing how much more flexible your muscles are after this low-impact workout.
There is a YouTube video about this routine you can watch, too. (You will need the written version though, to begin with. the video moves on quite quickly! Although our ‘old’ Brain and Memory Foundation name is used, you will see that Gillian Eadie is guiding you through the routine.)
Did you enjoy this? Pass it on to friends.
Exercise is a key factor in brain health.
Read an article exercise improving memory.