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Benefits of Small Exercises

Umesh is a freelance writer contributing his creative writings on varied subjects in various sites and portals in the internet.

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Introduction

Health is one of the most important factors in our lives and there are many measures suggested to keep a person healthy and fit. Workout and exercises are thought to be of great importance in keeping the body in good shape and many aspirants visit gym or health centres to reap the benefits of the exercises. The gym coach is supposed to guide the people to exercise in a correct way so that no negative effect is there in the persons undertaking these exercises. This is an important aspect especially for the first timers. Gym exercises are considered as rigorous exercises not only to tone the body but also to reduce weight in some specific cases.
On the other hand deep breathing and small exercises are different from the above gym workout in some subtle ways and we will be going through that in details in this article. In India they are also known as Yogic and Meditation exercises.
Though morning time is thought to be ideal for undergoing these exercises but those who cannot afford it in the morning can definitely try them in the evening time well before their dinner.
Another question that is often asked in this context is that how much time we have to devote for doing these small exercises. As per my experience, in the beginning, one can give only 15 to 20 minutes per day for these activities and after realising the refreshing affects of this it can be easily stretched up to 40 or even up to 60 minutes per day. Some people who do not get so much time in one go can bifurcate it in two parts each comprising of 20 to 30 minutes, one part to be undertaken in the morning and other in the evening.

Resistance to exercise

It is a natural human tendency to have resistance for anything that we have not done before and had not assessed it for the benefits accrued to us. So this is true in case of the exercises also and many people have resistance to go for them. I myself was having a good degree of resistance for these things but when I saw some people regularly doing that and deriving the benefits I was also lured to go for them and believe me they have a great effect on our health and mood shaping. Those who never like to do exercises can give it a try and do it for sometime and then only decide whether to continue or not. I am sure they will continue it.

It is the inherent human nature that it resists for any change and when a person starts exercising the existing mindset resists it and it is obvious that in the initial days one has to fight with oneself to keep these activities sustained and believe me once they are undertaken for some time the individual will yearn for them more and more. It is unbelievable but true. So the trick is to control and contain that initial resistance and then we are the masters of our bodies.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is practiced in India as well as in many parts of the world to provide sufficient oxygen to the body parts and to energize the pulmonary system in the body to function in the best possible manner. In the Indian yoga practices this is very much used in combination to the small exercises to reap the benefits of the deep breathing in an optimal manner.

Deep breathing is done in synchronisation with the small exercises and the rule of thumb in this matter is that a deep breath is taken slowly (inhaling) and then also to be released (exhaling) in a slow manner keeping in mind that exhaling should as far as possible coincide with the stretching or extending part of the exercise. This may appear slightly complicated but with a little practice it becomes a child's play. For example if I am breathing in and after that stretching up my body then that is the time to exhale out.

Small Exercises

Small exercises are nothing but a type of exercises affecting the different parts of body and are generally done in a slow pace contrary to the usual workout or jogging or running that health freaks often resort to in the gyms or open parks. During the small exercises one has to breath deeply synchronising with the particular exercise.
The sequence of these exercises is very simple and starts from the eyes and ends at the feet. Most of these are done in standing posture but many of them can also be done while sitting on a stool. Some of these might look like physiotherapy techniques in their nature and that is obviously the added advantage.

Let us exercise

Let us now start doing these small exercises one by one. The sequence of these small exercises generally starts from the head and ends with the legs. It is not necessary to follow the sequence strictly in that way and can be changed as per the convenience of the person but doing them in that order will help in remembering them and not missing out some of them in between.

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Another important thing is that we will be doing these exercises each 2 times to start with and one can increase the frequency more depending on the total time available for a complete set of these exercises.

By doing each exercise 2 times, the total time taken in doing these exercises would be about 25 to 30 minutes. It is obvious that doing them 5 times each would increase the total time to almost an hour.

Let us try to take up them one by one in the following order -

  • Take a standing posture. Take a deep breath slowly and exhale also slowly and move only the eyeballs up and down synchronising with exhaling. Do it for 1 more time. Again inhale, exhale, and move only eyeballs sideways while exhaling. Repeat it 1 more time. Relax. This completes first small exercise. This is a unique exercise claimed to keep the eye in good order.
  • Slowly breath deeply and slowly exhale and simultaneously with exhaling move the head slowly up and down. Repeat 1 more time. Now do this 2 times by moving head sideways. That completes the second exercise. This is a very good exercise for the neck. In some ailments doctor advise this to the patients and ask them to do it 15-20 times. It is known as McKenzie in western countries.
  • Slowly take a deep breath and slowly exhale and simultaneously slowly raise the right hand straight up in the surrender position and slowly bring it back down and do it for 1 more time. Repeat the same thing 2 times with left hand.
  • Start the slow deep breathing and then exhale slowly and simultaneously undertake this exercise. In this exercise we have to bring both the hands in front, stretched fully making a right angle with the body. Now close the palms and make fists and move the fists 2 times clockwise and 2 times anti clockwise without moving the hands. This exercise is used to strengthen the wrists.
  • Take slow deep breath and slowly exhale. Simultaneously bend both the hands at elbow and bring them up behind the head and with the palm of right hand hold the elbow of left hand and pull slightly. Release. Pull and release 1 more time. Now using palm of left hand hold the elbow of right hand and pull slightly. Do it one more time. Bring the hands down.
  • Take slow deep breath and slowly exhale. Simultaneously take both the hands back. Keep them straight and lock them together. Stretch the hands and raise slightly up and bend (at waist) the body to front. Repeat one more time. This is said to be good for waist and shoulder back.
  • Take slow deep breath and slowly exhale. Take both the hands straight up and and bend the body (at waist) and bring both hands slowly down without bending the knees and try to bring the hands below the knees as far as possible. Repeat one more time. Do not attempt this exercise if you have problem in the back like slip disc or things like that. Attempt to bend only till you are comfortable. People who do not exercise regularly, generally have stiff muscles and ligaments and if they forcefully do this type of exercise then it might cause them internal injury leading to sprain or muscle pull or something of that sort. Such people are advised to seek help of a physiotherapist in these matters.
  • Inhale and exhale and spread the hands sideways and outwards keeping them straight. Now rotate the body (above the waist) to right side and then to left side. Bring back the hands down. Repeat the whole thing one more time. Rotate the upper body only up to the tolerance level. Do not twist more.
  • Sit down on a stool. Inhale and exhale. While exhaling bend the shoulders slightly to back and then bring them back. Repeat one more time. This is claimed to bring relief in spondylitis.
  • Stand up straight. Inhale and exhale and bend right leg at the knee and bring it up till the knee reaches near waist level. Retain for a few seconds (say 5 seconds) and release back. Repeat 1 more time. Repeat the whole thing with the left leg. Standing on one leg during that 4-5 seconds might appear difficult in the beginning but after a few attempts it becomes easy.
  • Slowly inhale and while exhaling raise the right leg slightly without bending at the knee and balance the body on the left leg and now rotate the foot one time clockwise and one time anticlockwise. Bring back to standing position. Repeat 1 more time. Repeat this with left leg.
  • Slowly inhale and while exhaling stretch the hands forward without bending at the elbows. Now bring the body down by bending the knees but keep the hands like that only. Wait for a few seconds (3 to 5 seconds) and rise up and come to standing position. Repeat one more time.
  • Stand straight. Inhale and exhale and while exhaling contract the thighs, buttocks, and stomach inwards and release after 3-4 seconds. Repeat 1 more time. This might require some practice. It is the best exercise for tummy and buttocks and is also claimed to bring healing results in people suffering from the Piles.

Conclusion

Small exercises are a great way to strengthen the muscles and ligaments in our body. They are not in the nature of rigorous exercises but give immense benefits for good health and fitness. We have mentioned some of the exercises here but you can have more especially after discussing it with your physiotherapist who can customise them for a particular case.

Deep breathing coupled with small exercises is very helpful in maintaining the health of the chest. It is also believed that it is instrumental in bringing feelings of calm in ones mind. People in their old age can definitely benefit by these simple exercises.

Acknowledgement

In my locality there are some seniors who undertake some of these exercises regularly in the garden area in our housing complex. I often join them during that in the morning time and had got motivation from there to write this article. I show my gratitude and respect to them through this acknowledgement and wish them a healthy and peaceful old age.

Some Exercises

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Umesh Chandra Bhatt

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