A woman’s life is a juggling act; coping with career, home, family and kids, she hardly finds time to take care of her body and fitness. The result: By the time she enters into her
40s, the lack of exercises, besides the hormonal shifts and poor food choices, combinedly takes a toll on the health and makes her dependent on doctors and physiotherapists.
Not a good scenario, I must say. So, for a woman to remain ailment-free, one of the solutions, on which I bank upon and I am sure your doctor advises too, is a few exercises.
Boring they may sound, yet exercises are necessary evil. So that you don’t make any excuses for skipping the exercise, I have rounded up a list (of exercises) which will hardly
take 5 minutes of your time to do each . Moreover these can be done anytime, anywhere and don’t require any special equipment too to perform.
1. Anti-anxiety exercise: Women are anxious most of the time as they stress a lot about their family well-being or coping well in the job(to name two among many). To get quick
relief from anxiety, try performing these breathing exercises.
The first great stress buster technique is called Anoolom Vilom (alternate nostril breathing) in yoga.
Steps to do it:
- Sit crossed legged and close your eyes.
- Close right nostril with thumb and take a deep breath through your left nostril. Do this slowly as if you want to fill the lungs with air.
- Now close left nostril with your ring finger and simultaneously release the thumb. Then breathe out slowly through right nostril.
- Next take in the air from right nostril and release the air through left (close right nostril with thumb). This completes one round of this practice.
- Do it once in morning and once in evening.
Second is Bhramari Pranayam, also known as Humming Bee breathing technique. It’s a sure shot exercise to calm mind and reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.
- Sit in the easy posture with straight spine (sukhasana- simple cross-legged position) on a blanket or yoga mat. If you have any knee issues, just sit on a chair with straight spine.
- Gently close the ear with both the thumbs. The purpose of pressing is just to minimise the external noise.
- Now, put the index fingers of both hands on your forehead, just above the eyebrows. Close eyes gently with remaining 3 fingers.
- Fold the tongue in such a way that its tip touches the upper pallet of the mouth.
- Slowly take a deep breath through both the nostrils. Then exhale slowly while producing a humming sound. ( Try chanting the OM sound without opening the mouth).
- Your mouth should remain closed during the practice. You would feel vibrations in your throat, jaws and lips.
This completes one cycle. Try doing at least 2 cycles at one go.You can check the video by clicking on following link.
2. Facial exercise: Don’t have time to go to spa or saloon for elaborate facial session; try these facial exercises at home to keep those fine lines at bay
Tone the whole face: Gently massage the whole face as shown in the video. The purpose of massage is to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the face, boosting the collagen
production. Just apply gentle but firm pressure to your face, forehead and neck with fingertips in upward motion.
Open your eyes wide: Sit comfortably in cross-legged position or in a chair. Now focus your eyes at a point in the distance. Slowly open your eyes wide without engaging any
other facial muscles. Make sure your eyebrows are not wrinkled. Maintain the position for about 10 seconds and relax. Repeat four times. These helps to minimise the fine lines
around the eyes.
Fill your mouth with air: Keep your lips tightly closed. Transfer the air in your mouth from one side to the another and up and down too. Now make circling motion inside the
mouth filled with air. Continue the procedure for a few minutes, relax and repeat a couple of times. This helps you get rid of chubby cheeks and wrinkles around the mouth.
3. Kegel: Have you ever laughed so hard that you peed a bit in your pants? You leak because you have weak pelvic floor muscles which is caused as we age or after child birth. To remain out of adult diapers later in your life, start performing Kegel exercises just for 5 minutes every day.You can perform this exercise while travelling, when you watch television or even going up and down the elevator!!
First identify the right muscles to engage in exercise. when you urinate, stopping midstream. The muscles involved in this act are the muscles you need to work on.
Now tighten your pelvic floor muscles (as if you are holding the urge to urinate) and hold the contraction for at least 5 seconds and then relax. Do it for at least 10 times in a day.
Be careful not to engage the muscles in the abdomen, thighs or buttocks. And breathe normally during the whole exercise.
4. Anti-bloating: Bloating is a frustrating symptom of hormonal imbalance, PMS, irregular or bad food choices etc. Here is the yoga exercise you can do at the comfort of your
home to say goodbye to bloating. Avoid if you have back pain.
- Sit in a cross-legged position. Make sure your sit bones are in perfect contact with the mat.
- Keep your shoulders and chin parallel to the floor and spine elongated.
- Place the fingertips of your right hand on the floor behind your tail bone.
- Place your left hand on your right knee. Now hug your right knee into your chest with your left arm.
- Inhale and lengthen the pine, exhale as you begin twisting to the right side engaging your abdominal muscles.
5. Knee pain: A woman is more susceptible to knee pain because the estrogen level in the body decreases during the menstrual cycle as well as during menopause. (The estrogen is
female hormone which protects the cartilage around knee joint). Obesity too increases the risk of knee pain as (over) weight puts lots of pressure on knee. Strengthening the upper
and lower muscles that supports knee is of utmost important as strong muscles means putting less pressure on the knees, thereby getting relief from pain.
Quads Strengthening exercises: These exercises will strengthen the muscles at front of the thigh.
Quad clenches: Steps to do.
- Lay flat on your back and keep your knees and legs straight.
- Tighten the muscle on the front of the thigh and push the knee caps towards you.
- Hold the position for 3 -5 seconds.
- Do it for 10-15 times after every 3-4 hours.
Foot raise: Steps to do:
- Sit on chair with knee bent and feet on floor.
- Squeeze the thigh muscles and Lift your foot up and straighten your leg and knee as much as possible. Hold for 5 secs before putting it back on floor.
- Do this for twice or thrice daily each set for 10-15 times.
Hamstring strengthening exercise: This exercise will strengthen the muscles at the back of the thigh. Steps to do:
- Sit on a firm chair with feet on floor.
- Slowly slide one foot till the heel of the foot is placed against the leg of the chair.
- Now firmly press the heel of the foot into the chair’s leg till you feel the back of the thigh muscles clenching. Heel of the foot should not move upwards during the exercise.
- Repeat the same with the other leg. You can do it twice or thrice daily for 10-15 times.
Calf strengthening: These strengthen the muscles on the back of the leg between the knee and the ankle.
- Stand with your feet slightly apart and hold onto something for balance if needed
- Rise up onto your toes lifting your heels as high as possible. Keep your body upright while doing this exercise. Hold for 3-5 secs and slowly lower.
- Repeat 15-20 times, twice or thrice daily.
Though I have written the above given exercises with keeping women in mind, but come to think of it, all of these can be performed by men too (ailment reasons could be different
but cure is same). So guys, get up and flex those muscles by performing these 5 minute exercises.