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Article of the Month - January 2008

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Exercises While Lying On Your Back

A plan for staying in shape the easy way

Disclaimer: See bottom of the page. I am not a licensed anything. These exercises were developed for myself and have helped a great deal. However, if you have any doubt, be sure to get your doctor's approval before doing them, otherwise you are on your own.


The exercises in this session are for everyone, not just the lazy. It is a plan to help you stay in shape in only 15 minutes per day of your time. The individual who loves to do thing lying down will find this particularly easy. And even if you suddenly want to fall asleep, there will be no problem, you are already down. The exercises involve most of the muscle groups which we use in our regular life and even some of those we seldom use but must depend on in a tight situation so that they will not cause us sudden and unexpected problems.

Before we continue, there are a few simple rules:

  • 1. Exercises are built on a base of repetitions a specific number of times. In other words, the exercises start with a small number of repetitions and every second to third day an additional five to ten more repetitions of each exercise is added. Once you get above 100 times for an exercize, a very easy and efficient way of counting is to count to 10 a total of 5 times, and then start over again for the next fifty. With this method you do not use any number over 10. Psychologically it helps you whip through the exercises more easily. OR, instead of counting the number of repetitions, it is possible to use time. For instance, on the leg flex exercise one leg, I did 50 in 1 minute. This may be of help if you find it difficult to concentrate on breathing and counting at the same time or just do not like to count..

  • 2. Do each of these exercises each day without avoiding it for one reason or another. If you miss a day, then go backwards one step to the number achieved and start again from there.

  • 3. Do not do more than you feel comfortable doing at any one time. Sometimes this number will be lower than the level you have achieved. Never go beyond the comfortable level. If it is becoming difficult, or if your muscles are telling you that you have had enough, listen and stop. If you feel the muscles getting a little tired or painful, and think that by resting 20-30 seconds you can do another 10-15 repetitions, don't do it.

  • 4. Be aware of the normal physical cycles of the body (to be elaborated upon at another time. Do not go beyond what is comfortable for you even if your normal limit is higher. On the upswing of the physical cycle, you will be back up there. If you do not feel like increasing the number every other day, wait until you feel that you can increase it. You may be physically down and actually should wait until you are in a better position to increase the number of repetitions. This may even be upwards to 10 or more days.

    At certain points in these cycles, the number of repetitions we feel we can do without discomfort may be far less than the level we have attained up to that point. Do not do the exercises by force. As your body progresses through the cycles you will once again attain your level and will be able to add to the repetitions with ease. Being down does not mean that you will feel down all the time. There are short bursts or peaks of smaller cycles some of which will actually be up for short periods.

  • 5. Do all of the exercises alternating between exercises of the upper body and exercises of the lower body. However, if you have finished the lower and have several to do on the upper part, alternate between hand and arm exercises, or rest 30-45 seconds longer between exercises.

  • 6. Normally do all of the 15 exercises in one session. Do not repeat or add repetitions to exercises which you have already. Doing each exercise only once a day is sufficient even if you have not reached your current level in some of them.


    Warming up
    Do each of the exercises five (5) times one right after another before starting any of the other exercises.

    Sitting up exercise
    It is not necessary to do the sitting up exercise during this warm up session because the sitting up exercise should be at the end of the exercises when your body is already warmed up.

    Length of Time For Exercising
    This exercise regimen takes no more than 15 minutes a day. This can be done in smaller batches during the day but do not redo an exercise which has already been done.

    Best Time
    Find the best time for doing the exercise routine. This may depend on convenience due to other tasks but if you can find the best time for your overall stamina and preparedness and desire to do the exercise, then this will increase the ability to complete the set and also the possibility that you will not conveniently forget to do them


    Breathe in on the up movement and out on the down movement. It is difficult to get into the rhythm at first, but in time you will get it. It is not always necessary to breath in and out on each repetition. Some of the exercises are small and you can adjust your breathing to fit the cadence of the exercise. Some exercises like the gentle roll, finger flex, hand flex breathe in for 5 repetitions and out for 5. Others can be breathing in for two exercises and out for two. Just be sure you breathe enough to get oxygen to all parts of the body during the exercise.


    In addition to the principles above:

  • Rest 15-20 seconds in-between each exercise.

  • Take a break for a day once each week.

  • WARNING: Leg and sit-up repetition numbers will be much less even half of the number of arm and feet exercises. Do not overdo it. Go to the first feelings of strain and stop. Never force yourself or a particular exercise.


    Normally you should not miss days but there are certain days when you will not do them sickness, feeling very down physically, even forgetting them, or when days are filled with unusual events. In such cases, drop back 10 exercises and start working up in the succeeding days to the previous high level.


  • Do not do exercises after eating unless it is a very light snack

  • Drink a glass of water or juice before beginning the exercise session. If you forget before the exercise and remember half way through, drink a glass if you had not drunk any fluids within the last 30-45 minutes before starting the exercise. It is most important to drink.

    AT THE END OF EXERCISE (this will be repeated below)

    You should not be breathing hard or feeling any pain or tension in any muscles. If any of these occur, you are overdoing the exercises or are not doing them correctly.

    Mentally give blue healing and clearing energy through each leg and each arm and then whole body.

    Drink another cup of water.


    Do this one time only the first time you have ever done these exercises, or after an extended break (more than a week.) Do the warm up exercises of 5 each for all of the exercises except sit ups. Then, do each of the exercises alternating leg and arm exercises until you feel the first signs of any stress whatsoever for each exercise and stop. This will be the base number of repetitions for that exercise. After setting the comfort level for each exercise, do not do it again until the next day.


    These exercises should be done at a different time from those done while lying down 1. Reaching down to the floor - this should be done similar to the exercises below 2. Walking up stairs. 3. Walking. Should build up distance over time, but usually not more than 1 hour at the most unless you are in training. 4. Running. This should not be done if you do not feel up to it. I find that after a certain age, or after not having done exercising for an extended period, running should be developed very slowly, or not at all. In most cases, this exercise should be done only if you are in training for some particular contest.


    UPPER BODY (Do while lying flat on back)

    Side by side arc swing
    With arms stretched out straight up in the air over head, place hands side by side. Bring arms down in an arc to pelvic area but do not touch body, and back up again.

    Arm lift and cross over
    Spread arms out at right angles to the body at shoulder level on either side. Bring them up overhead and cross over going as far to the other side for each arm as is comfortable and bring them back to original position.

    Wing Flap
    Put arms straight out at shoulder level at right angles with the body. Fold arms in so fingers touch chin. In this position move the arms up and down with elbows touching body below rib cage and up again to shoulder level.

    Punching Air
    Punch a bag but as if it is over you at arms length and alternating arms.

    Biceps Flex
    With arms close to body, bring the lower arm and hands up to touch the shoulder and then back down.

    Hand Twirl
    With your elbows resting on the floor/bed and your arms straight up in air, move the hands in a circle at the wrist. Do half of the repetitions you have attained clockwise and half of the number counterclockwise. Hands can be open or clenched.

    Hand Flex
    Clench the fingers into a fist, and then release them straight out. This can be done together with the punching air exercise.

    Finger Flex
    With arms set as in the hand flex exercise, keep the fingers straight and at right angles to the arm. Move each finger in order down. As each finger moves down, the previous finger will automatically come back up. Do this exercise from the thumb to the little finger and then reverse from little finger to thumb. Do both hands at the same time. At first, this will be difficult and may be more difficult for one hand than the other. Do the exercise slowly being sure that you are keeping the order and the depth of the dip of the fingers. This will speed up when you have achieved a balance between the two hands and between the fingers of each hand. This may be the most difficult exercise to accomplish.

    LOWER BODY (Do while lying flat on back)

    Knee bend
    Do each leg separately. Bring knee up to chest level. Do not touch chest or strain in any way to bring knee past a comfortable point. Straighten up leg and touch it down on the bed or floor. Repeat the number of repetitions you have attained or until you start to feel the muscles hurt or get tired if below that mark. Do this with the other leg. Be sure to breathe as directed.

    Folded knees together
    Fold knees and put your feet flat on the bed or floor at a comfortable distance from your behind. Drop knees down to the side - to a position just above the bed or floor, and then up again to the starting position. It is usually helpful to have your arms out straight by your side on the floor/bed for leverage. Do not attempt to touch the floor/bed surface. The end points where the knees are at each point should be comfortable to you and without strain.

    Foot whirl
    With the legs together flat on the floor/bed, (this is easier if feet are slightly off the end of the bed), move your feet at the ankle in a circle. It is helpful to roll them in one direction for half of the exercise and in the opposite direction for the other half.

    Toe curl
    With the legs together flat on the floor/bed, curl the toes down and release them. NOTE: This can be done together with the foot twirl.

    Achilles Tendon Flex
    With the legs together flat on the bed, tense and release by moving the foot away from you and then back. NOTE: This can be done together with the foot twirl.

    Sit ups (Do this last)
    Raise the torso only one quarter (1/4) way to a sitting position. Hold arms out stretched in front of you and then release them somewhat when lying back down. Your arms are meant to give you a forward thrust when you raise up. Do not do it with hands behind the head.

    COMBINING EXERCISES Some of these exercises can be done together where it is natural. You should not be doing exercises which need the support of other muscles to balance. Muscle groups may work against each other causing stress. Those exercises which may be done together are: 1. Hand flex with punching air   2. Toe curl and Achilles Tendon Flex with foot twist

    Repeat from above

    1. You should not be breathing hard or feeling any pain or tension in any muscles. If any of these occur, you are over doing the exercises, or are not doing them correctly.
    2. Mentally give blue healing and clearing energy through each leg and each arm and then whole body.
    3. Drink another cup of water.


    Basic rules when working at a job which requires you to sit long hours:

  • Get up every half an hour for a walk around the room, or do something that does not require sitting.

  • If you are working at the computer and the computer is doing something that does not need your input, get up. Do not just sit there and look at the screen. If you can do any other work while standing, do it.

  • If anything is wrong with the screen, fix it immediately. The shattered or irregular refresh rate may cause you problems.

    copyright 2008 J. Morgan Thomas
    All rights reserved

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