BUILDING up more strength through training the muscles is a good thing, as this helps the individual in no small measure to undertake daily chores effortlessly. But when discussing this, a picture of weightlifters and bodyguards should not arise in the mind. Everybody can engage in this form of body building exercise without entertaining needless fears of piling up muscles in unwanted places. Even women can benefit from this venture if the aim is to build firm muscle mass as opposed to flabby muscles that are not toned and which are not healthy either. The overall benefit is felt all over the body.
In addition to toning the body, such training also helps to imbue the exerciser with the required energy to carry out different tasks without much strain. And because of the nature of the exercise, which involves lifting and lowering, the body parts usually targeted are the limbs and torso.
But the individual going into it should better go slowly, for when it comes to lifting and lowering, going slower is much more effective, as the exercise requires more muscle work and less reliance on momentum. Slower also means safer since in this condition movements are more controlled.
It has also been recommended that the 5-5-5 system should be adopted. This means that the exerciser lifts for 5 seconds, lower for 5 seconds and do 5 repetitions. This is fewer than the usual 10 to 15 repetitions, but muscles don’t count repetitions. They respond instead to the time it takes to lift and lower a weight.
So, to produce results, a muscle needs to be worked between 30 to 90 seconds. The 5-5-5 system keeps muscles in motion for 50 seconds.
THE whole body should be exercised at all times to keep it fit and in top shape. But there are exercises that are specifically for different parts of the body. These have the capacity to impact tremendously on the targeted areas. This is a feat which general exercise may not be able to achieve. Particularly, if pain is being felt in such areas or they are not supple as they should be (in the case of joints), the exercises help to correct this condition, if done properly.
The exercises can be done periodically even when the exerciser works out regularly or there appears no obvious need for it. At the end of the day, it would be realised that a good ‘servicing job’ has been done.
The following exercise stretches the sides of the body as well as the waist area. Note that your hand should slide down your leg as you bend.
Stand straight with the legs and feet together and the head erect. Place the palms of your hands flat against the legs.
Slowly bend to the right, sliding the right hand down towards the knees. Your left hand will automatically also slide up towards the hip. Allow your head to relax right over the shoulder. Hold in your comfortable position to the count of five.
Straighten up slowly, pushing down with your left hand to help you. The head comes up only when the body is straight up.
Gently relax the head over for a few seconds before repeating on the other side. Then repeat the entire movement again, once on each side.
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