senior scribes

Mind, Body, Soul
A Check-Up and Exercise
By Mona Lease

Greetings, Gals!! Before you start on any of what I submit to you - I urge you - I strongly suggest - and otherwise ask you - to see your family physician. You need to ask him/her to order "fasting" tests for glucose and cholesterol levels. Your body should be able to maintain a 8 or 10 hour fast. You are allowed to drink water. This will show what the pancreas (insulin-producer...among other needed enzymes) is doing. Fasting tests will also show what the liver (cholesterol is produced here as well as a host of other functions). These tests will help to determine if you have a health issue that prevents you from losing weight or are chronically tired, etc.

You should also have a body mass index determined. What might look like too much weight may not really be too much weight. You might be comparing yourself to images from the media...that have been airbrushed. These always have colored lights to downplay imperfections, and highlight other positive areas, etc. A CBC (complete blood count) - white blood cells (infection fighters), red blood cells (too few of these give you anemia) and a few other blood-related components. I'll start with the following exercises.

Sit erect in a straight-backed chair. Loose clothing is a good choice. Put your feet flat on the floor the same width apart as your shoulders, with the heel of your foot being about a foot out from your body. Place your elbows on the tops of your hips. They can be on the outer side of the middle of your hips...not quite in line with your shoulders.

Starting with whatever side you choose - raise that should up to your ear. You don't need to actually touch your ear. Keep the rest of your body in it's original position. Keep your back straight. Keep your lower back tucked in just a tad. Don't let it sag! After you move whatever shoulder you start with - return the elbow to the original position. Do the same movement with the other shoulder. Keep repeating. Keep your back straight - no slouching! Keep your movements smooth and fluid-like. No jerking or straining. This moves and gently stretches all of the back muscles but will not "build-up" the muscles. This is especially good for those who stay hunched over a desk for long periods of time. This exercise also moves or "works" the muscles on the front of the body. I do this exercise once a day...actually, I start my day with this. I do it for 4 minutes or so. It helps to do it to a favorite song. Choose slower music.

A second exercise is breathing. The Orientals start karate classes with the breath. Breathe in deeply through the nose to fill the lungs. Exhale slowly. LaMaze classes teach this breathing technique for childbirth. The Orientals believe that we "Westerners" do not breathe deeply enough to get an acceptable amount of oxygen in our bodies. They also believe we slouch too much...which scrunches up our internal organs - which compromises digestion - among other issues. When you breathe out...purse your lips as if to whistle. You will hear the air leave your lungs. You move during the exercise on the outbreath.

Therefore: you would sit in a straight-backed chair. Keep your back straight. Put your feet flat on the floor as wide apart as your shoulders and out from the chair about a foot. Tuck in your lower back just a slouching! Ready?! Draw air through your mouth into your lungs until they are full. Do this slow and easy. On the outbreath - ease your shoulder up to your ear. Breath out slowly through your lips that are pursed in a whistle position. (You can drop the whistle position after you get the hang of inbreath/outbreath). If you need to inhale again before your shoulder reaches your ear...stop the shoulder where it is, hold that position and refill your lungs. On the new outbreath - finish moving the shoulder to the ear. Take another inbreath and return the elbow to the original hip position. If you need to take in another breath on the way down - stop like you did on the way up...hold the position...draw in another breath through the nose and move on the outbreath to return the elbow to  the original hip position. Repeat and alternate sides. Remember: slow and easy.

Sometimes all you need is for someone to just be there, even if they can't solve your problems. Just knowing there is someone who cares can make all the difference.

The best is yet to be!! MONA

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