Archive | August, 2010

Get Back To Being A Kid And Do This!

28 Aug

by Phillip Tomlinson

Evacuation.  

That’s kinda how it became a habit. 

No, I’m not talking flight from a terrorist attack, natural disaster or, for that matter, any flight at all.

You see things have a way of starting somewhere.  Just like the habit I’m about to tell you about.

In fact, very young kids in every culture are champions of this habit, as long as they are able to balance on their feet.  And it’s just as nature intended.

If you’ve really been paying attention, you know I’m talking about squatting.  Yes, squatting.

And what exactly does this have to do with evacuation?  In response, I’ll simply say this:  Thank heavens for that wonderful invention the diaper!

Know what I mean? 

Sure you do, because you don’t even have to be paying attention to know that kids of a certain age just love squatting to evacuate themselves — unloading right into that diaper.  What a relief!

And that’s how we  adults looked for relief too when we did our business way-back-when — having perfected nature’s prescription from about the age of two-and-a-half onwards. 

Yes, by squatting to perform bodily functions, our ancestors were able to arguably avoid a host of serious ailments until the middle of the nineteenth century when “the throne-like water closet was invented” in favor of the squat toilet.

Of course, the squat toilet has all but disappeared, even in Asia where it had, for long, remained the norm.

And disappearing right along with it, concluded some notable health experts, was a good part of our health once we no longer had to squat. 

Don’t believe me? 

How about trying on this little test for size:  Can you squat like that kid in the above picture without feeling some discomfort? 

If you passed that test, I’m sure you know at least one person who would have a hard time doing that without toppling over backwards because of tight hamstrings and lower back muscles, and legs that no longer support what had always been a natural posture.

Well, while the squat toilet won’t be making a comeback, we can definitely do a lot to reclaim lost glory in the squat department.

How?  

Yea, you guessed it.  By squatting.

And, no, I’m not talking about going to the bushes the way our ancestors did.

I’m talking exercise,  minus evacuation of course.  A  routine that’ll work all major muscle groups, burn calories, increase lower body flexibility, strengthen your core, and increase heart and lung power.

Sounds like a bargain?

Thought you’d agree.

So, since you can’t wait to get back to the good, old days, check out the no-nonsense squat routine in the BodinSync Prescription below: 

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BODINSYNC PRESCRIPTION

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Goblet Squat

 
 
 
 
 
 

Diagram 1

  1. With both hands, hold a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest as if it were a heavy goblet, as in diagram 1.
  2. Position your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  3. Start the movement by pushing your hips backward.
  4. Do our ancestors proud by lowering your body slowly, to a count of about three to four seconds, until you are in the deepest squatting position you can muster.  See diagram 2.  Keep your torso as upright as possible during the entire movement.
  5. Pause to eliminate momentum and drive yourself back up to the starting position.  THAT COMPLETES ONE REPETITION.  Do 1o. 

    Diagram 2

 

NOTE:  If you are interested in trying out some fun and functional ways to improve your physical fitness, you’re welcome to send your E-mail to  nattydregs@aol.com to arrange for a class at the low introductory price of $30.

 

 

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How Sweet It Is!

21 Aug

by Phillip Tomlinson

How Sweet it is! 

The four words immortalized by one of America’s larger-than-life funny men. 

 He was large alright.  So, much so that his television wife not only once called him “tubby” but reveled in poking fun of his girth whenever he got under her skin which, of course, was often.

No, siree,  Jackie Gleason’s alter ego Ralph Kramdem just couldn’t avoid stepping in it — all the way up to his nose — when it came to his wife Alice, as in this instance:

“You’re the type,” Ralph bellowed, “who would bend over and pick up a pocketbook on April Fool’s Day.  I wouldn’t.”

“You couldn’t,” shot back Alice.

It seems Ralph could just never catch a break, not even from his best buddy and neighbor Ed Norton.

“I promise you, Norton, I’m gonna learn to swallow my pride,” Ralph once confided.

“That ought not to be too hard,” said Norton matter-of-factly.  “You’ve learned how to swallow everything else.”

This piece of comedy brought the house down.  Every time.

But laughs aside, in general, we have a habit of  swallowing indiscriminately.  No laughing matter.

And, needless to say, that’s no way to go looking for that body-to-die for.

Yeh, I know.  Old habits die hard.

No need to start looking at the top of that steep staircase and then groaning about how you’re going to get there.  Just take it a step at a time.

Kinda like — and I dare say — how an ant eats an elephant.  A bite at a time. 

Well, you have to start somewhere, and since you’re going to, how about starting to pay attention to a food that’s been referred to by one renowned health expert as “a perfect 10?’

So, if you had to pick a real powerfood, this would be a good place to start, especially if you are trying to keep off the pounds and keep your plumbing system free of the gook that can sabotage your ticker.

Yes, there is a reason why that Quaker guy is smiling because, while oatmeal is relatively cheap, it packs a big-time wallop and should definitely be one of your major weapons as you try to carve out that high-performance body.

Why? 

The oatmobile has a real toughie riding shotgun.

That would be the fiber guy who packs a kind of magic bullet ready for the first sign of trouble.  Now, that’s really good considering that doctors recommend we get between 25 and 35 grams of fiber per day, with most of us getting half that.

You see, oatmeal contains soluble fiber that is a magnet for fluid, and hangs around in your stomach longer than insoluble fibers like vegetables.  The rub is that soluble fiber is thought to reduce cholesterol by binding with digestive acids made from it and expelling them from the body.

The nifty part is that when this happens, your liver raids your blood for cholesterol to make more digestive acids thereby causing your cholesterol level to take a nosedive.  

Here’s how David Zinczenko puts it in his best-selling Eat Right Every Time Guide:  “Fiber is like a bouncer for your body, kicking out troublemakers and showing them the door.  Fiber protects you from heart disease and it also protects you from colon cancer by sweeping carcinogens out of the intestines quickly.”

And you can also add this:  Eating fiber can substantially lower your risk for diabetes — a pretty good bonus when you consider that studies have shown a dramatically increased  incidence of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes in the United States.

Turns out those “tubby” Ralph Kramden one-liners, while good for a laugh, were in the end hardly a laughing matter because, by the time America’s beloved Jackie Gleason took his final curtain call, he had been stricken with diabetes. 

So, start somewhere.  Reach for that “perfect 1o,” and it may have you doing a lot better and crowing with delight:  “How sweet it is!”

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BODINSYNC PRESCRIPTION:

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Eat more oatmeal and the bonuses may really keep adding up.  Preliminary research has indicated that oatmeal could raise the level of free testosterone in our body, thereby not only boosting the ability to build muscle and burn fat, but also boosting DRIVE of a certain kind.  Yes, sex drive!  So, men, load up!  Women, encourage ’em!

 NOTE:  If you are interested in trying out some fun and functional ways to improve your physical fitness, you’re welcome to send your E-mail to  nattydregs@aol.com to arrange for a free trial class.

Take Control And Put The Wind In Your Sails

13 Aug
by Phillip Tomlinson 
 
Control? 

Yeah!  

Of course you want to be in control. 

When have you not wanted to be in control? 

It’s your life, isn’t it? 

Why would you cede control if you didn’t have to? 

Quite frankly, it’s the reason you get mighty ticked off when you’re, say, watching your favorite TV show and, right when you would have it no other way, the cable goes south on you. 

Tell me about it!  I’ve had that feeling many times. 

That’s why I’m sure, like me, you can admire and root for the guy who takes control and refuses to give an inch. 

And I’m not just thinking of any guy here, because there’s always that one guy who keeps popping into my head every time I need a reminder that complaining is the lazy way out.  It’s a flashback all the way to more than 10 years ago in little town you may have heard of.  

Lake Placid, New York.  

Just as I thought: you’ve heard of it.  Who hasn’t heard of “The Miracle on Ice.”  

Well, that’s where I found myself on a Sunday.  In that Olympic town of Miracle-on-Ice fame watching one of the most grueling of races:  the triathlon. 

A 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26 mile marathon in that order.   

Makes some people nauseous just thinking of this.  But let’s not forget our guy who over the years revisits my thoughts.  In this Olympic miracle town, he was Mr. Miracle in the surf, Mr. Miracle on two wheels and, yes, Mr. Miracle on asphalt.  It was this last leg — and the operative word is leg — that gave me goose bumps. 

This guy was definitely not running as fast as his fellow competitors.  Far from it.  But he was running.  With every grimace on his contorted face.  Running on one leg.  And a medieval plastic prosthetic where his other leg had been!  All the more impressive when some of his two-legged counterparts had been reduced to walking — hands akimbo, their face almost touching the pavement. 

Talk about wresting control in the most drastic of ways! 

How badly do you want control? 

I know you do.  We all do. 

Here’s the thing:  You don’t have to do a triathlon.  You can walk.  But not just any walk. 

If you have 10 minutes to spare, I’ll show you a little routine that could actually turn up big for you in the control department.  It’s called the hand walk and, yes, you’ll need your legs too, but it could turn out to  be a bit of a miracle in building stability in your shoulders, arms, and core while lengthening your hamstrings, calves and lower back muscles. 

So, come, let’s walk the walk in the BodinSync Prescription below: 

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BODINSYNC PRESCRIPTION 

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  1. Stand straight with your feet together.  THIS IS YOUR STARTING POSITION.
  2. Stoop down and place your palms on the floor in front of your feet.  You may need to adjust the distance between your feet and your hands according to the flexibility in your hamstrings.
  3. Straighten your legs while keeping your palms flat against the floor as in diagram 1. 

    Diagram 1

    Hold for a second or so. (This is where you may need to make that adjustment between your hands and feet.) 

  4. Keeping your legs straight and your stomach as flat as possible, walk your hands out pass normal pushup position until your body is straight and your arms are out in front of you (see diagram 2 with arrow)  instead of underneath you. 

    Diagram 2

    Pause.  ( You may increase the degree of difficulty by raising one leg slightly off the floor, putting it back and doing the same with the other leg.) 

     

  5. walk your arms slightly back, positioning them under your shoulders.  Do a pushup.
  6. Keeping your legs and body straight, reverse the walking motion by walking your feet back up to your hands, all the while using very short ankle steps without the aid of your quads, knees or hips.
  7. Stand back up.  THAT’S ONE REPETITION.  Do 10.

  

NOTE:  If you are interested in trying out some fun and functional ways to improve your physical fitness, you’re welcome to send your E-mail to  nattydregs@aol.com to arrange for a free trial class.

Now, That’s A Balancing Act!

4 Aug

by Phillip Tomlinson

If you haven’t seen her, you’ve most likely heard of her. 

But if you have seen her, then you’ve witnessed the way she often goes about retrieving things.  And, quite frankly, she can make you cringe while doing it.

And I suspect you may have even let out an unexpected “ow” or two when you see how she matter-of-factly does it. 

The “it” would be sliding, full leg splits, and the “things” would be tennis balls.

Yes, that’s how world famous Belgian tennis ace Kim Clijysters sometimes hits her returns — from a sliding full leg split.  The Road Runner couldn’t screech to a sliding halt with any more flare.

Now, that’s a balancing act!

For most of us, it simply hurts even looking at that.

But then again, for most of us, it could hurt doing less than that.  Much less than that.  And I mean simply by doing what would be normal everyday tasks that should literally be a breeze. 

I’m sure you would agree that picking up a fairly light object from the ground could be considered one of those breezy tasks.  Should be safe enough, right?

Think again.

You see, I know at least one guy who would disagree.  That’s because that’s exactly how he once sustained a muscle strain — performing one of those tasks that should be a breeze.  Bending over to pick up an empty carton box.   

Is this painting a picture? 

If it isn’t, here’s the deal: if stretching isn’t a part of your fitness routine, you will most certainly, day-by-day, lose your ability to perform simple tasks. 

And, yes, you may even hurt yourself trying to pick up an empty carton box.

While bending over seems simple enough, this could become a chore, especially for back pain sufferers.  And, in this case, one thing really does lead to another because chances are if your quadriceps, hamstrings and hip flexors are tight, you will also suffer tightness in your lower back and, consequently, pain.

But that’s not the whole picture.  Far from it.

If you are fairly young, and have been overlooking the importance of stretching, start looking down the road, because flexibility becomes doubly important as we age and the lack of it can spell big-time discomfort in various forms:  not being able to stand erect, loss of fluidity of movement, not being able to bend down, increase in muscle, tendon and joint injuries, and the list goes on.  Unless, of course, you kick a bad habit to the curb and begin working toward retaining the functional ability that could keep you active — going and going and going…, well, you know, much like that little guy the Eveready Energizer Bunny.

Heck, you may even find yourself  launching into one of those Clijysters splits.

Now, talk about aging gracefully!

For some valuable information on the benefits of stretching check out this link:  http://www.functional-fitness-facts.com/benefits-of-stretching.html

And for a great routine on how to stretch just about everything from your big toes to your hands, see the BodinSync Prescription below:

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BODINSYNC PRESCRIPTION

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  1. With your feet together, bend at your waist and try to touch your toes with your fingers.  Hold for about five seconds.
  2. Slowly straighten back up to your original position, hands at your sides.
  3. Step back with your right leg into a lunge. 
  4. Try arching your back slightly while twisting your torso toward your left leg and, at the same time, reaching your right hand across the side of your head and toward the sky.  See image at right.   
  5. Now, step back into the next lunge with your left leg to execute the stretch on the other side.

NOTE:  As you step back into the lunge and twist, try squeezing the glute of your back leg to instensify the stretch of your hip flexors.

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BODINSYNC ADVISORY

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If you are interested in trying out some fun and functional ways to improve your physical fitness, you’re welcome to send your E-mail to  nattydregs@aol.com to arrange for a free trial class.