You’re probably well aware that exercise is a key component to healthy living, but your day is already jam-packed, so exercise just doesn’t get a look in. Every now and then, and with increasing frequency if you’re into the second half of your life, you’re aware of the effects of not exercising. Stiffness, feeling out of breath, fatigue, and clothes feeling tight are some of the tell-tale symptoms.
Ten years ago, as a mother of young children, I was physically active but aware that some parts of my body weren’t being exercised at all. After 20 years of yoga, I wanted a change, and was on the look out for a home-based system which would work all the main muscle groups in a short time.
Psychocalisthenics was the answer: a book, video, audio and poster enabled me to teach myself a series of 23 movement/breathing exercises. Being more demanding than yoga, but less energetic than aerobics, and taking only 15 minutes to complete they suited me perfectly. I also liked the way Pscyhocalisthenics sees the body as an organism rather than a machine.
Developed by Oscar Ichazo, psychocalisthenics awakens each of the five body ‘cavities’ in turn, exercising the associated muscles, and ‘producing a flash of vital energy throughout the entire body’.
I thought I’d got my exercise system cracked!
Unfortunately, two pregnancies had taken their toll on my sacroiliac joints, and one of the twisting exercises proved too much, and by the time my back had recovered several weeks later, Psychocalisthenics was out of the picture. I moved on to learn and practice a Qigong sequence take about 15 minutes as well as regular lunchtime walks, and weekly Pilates sessions.
Roll on ten years, and I felt the need for a more demanding form of exercise, and decided to give Psychocalisthenics another try. Older and wiser, I’m now taking care with the twisting exercise, first by making sure I have the movement right, and second only doing two swings instead of three.
My body is starting to feel more ‘solid’, and so far so good with my lower back.
Keys to fitting exercise into your busy life
1. Align your exercise with other activities
Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- Download teleclasses onto your iPod, and listen while you exercise.
- Walk short distances to do errands, rather than drive – this may be quicker too!
- Combine exercise with socialising eg by joining a tennis club.
- Integrate the exercises your physiotherapist has given you into your daily life.
What exercise can you do alongside another activity?
2. Find a short exercise routine
- If you know yoga, three rounds of the Sun Salutation will exercise much of your body in less than 10 minutes. You might want to add an asana with a twist, such as The Twist, or Reverse Triangle.
- One of the many qigong sequences will exercise your body in a gentle way. For example Taji Qigong is a series of 18 movements which can be completed in 10-15 minutes.
- Psychocalisthenics is a series of 23 exercises, which draw on both yoga and qigong.
What short exercise routing can you do on a regular basis?
3. Make any necessary adaptations
Be aware of your limitations, and if in any doubt consult your doctor before embarking on a new exercise regime.
If some part of your body needs rest while it heals, miss out any exercises which cause aggravation or strain. Part of an exercise routine is better than none at all.
If you’ve not exercised for a while, be sure to learn to move in the correct way, with a teacher if possible. Build up speed and the number of repetitions gradually, so your body gets used to the exercises. Listen to your body signals, and when in doubt take it easy!
What adaptations do you need to make to protect yourself?