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Push, pull and squat your way to a balanced day

By The Health News Team | June 1, 2023
Push, pull and squat your way to a balanced day

You likely start each day with a variety of activities on your schedule. From making breakfast in the morning and sitting at a desk during work hours, to cleaning your home or taking the dog for a walk, you have things you need to get done and expect your body to move in ways that allow you to accomplish them.

However, do you give your body what it needs to operate at its optimal potential? According to Jenny Driessen, an exercise specialist at the Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital, the way you treat your body and prepare it for your day affects your activities - and your happiness.

"From the moment we wake up, we make choices that determine the direction of our day," Driessen says. "By stretching, strengthening and stabilizing your body, you can maximize your physical potential for a well-balanced day."

Seven basic movements to keep you moving
Much of what you do on any given day requires seven basic movements:

  • Push

  • Pull

  • Squat

  • Lunge

  • Hinge

  • Twist

  • Walk

If you are able-bodied, you can perform most of these movements with relative ease. However, it's important to ensure that you perform them in a manner in which pain and the risk of injury are reduced or eliminated.

Driessen recommends that you create a space in your home to warm up your body for your daily activities. Basic home gym equipment, such as hand weights and resistance bands, can help.

"There are simple exercises you can perform at home that stretch and strengthen the body in a balanced way," Driessen says. "When in doubt, focus on the movements of push, pull and squat."

She recommends the following three moves:

Push-ups - These can be done standing while facing a wall; on an incline with hands on a bar or steady surface; or facing down on the ground. Make sure your palms are flat and your hands are slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your elbows to the side with a flat back, then push back until your arms are fully extended.

Rows - With a hand weight in each hand and your palms facing your torso, bend at the waist and knees, and shift your hips down and back while keeping your back straight. Keep your torso stationary and elbows close to the body as you pull your elbows up and back. Slowly lower the weight to the starting position.

Squats - Stand in front of a sturdy, armless chair. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms in front of you. Slowly bend your knees, shift your weight into your heels, and lower yourself until you're almost seated, taking care not to extend your knees past your toes. Slowly rise back to a standing position.

"A well-balanced start to your day can also include meditation, which synchronizes the mind-body connection," Driessen says. "Along with a healthy diet, good friendships, gratitude for all you have and service to others, movement and meditation create the perfect recipe for health and happiness."

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