The Can-Can We're going to be focusing on the ankles with this exercise. Keeping the ankle moving is important and it's simple to do. Lie flat on your back and grab hold of a leg behind the knee and move your foot in circles 30 times to the right, then 30 times to the left. Keep the other leg flat on the floor with the toes pointed straight up. Switch legs and repeat. ***BREATH*** You can also do this exercise sitting in a chair. Astronaut Let's give the hips and ankles a vacation! Find some place comfortable like your bed, the couch, or a stool and some pillows and lie flat on your back with your legs bent at 90 degrees. Your hands can be on the floor or on your stomach. **Breath from your diaphragm and let your back settle into the floor. This will help disengage the hip flexors and release compensating muscles. Astronaut Landing This exercise stretches out the powerful muscles on the indie of the thigh. Lie on your back with one leg resting at a 90 degree angle like the astronaut. The other leg should be flat on the floor with the foot supported upright by a wall or some books. My left foot is against the wall and isn't very visible, but supported well. Hold this position for about 10-20 minutes. Once the time is up move the leg that was in the 90 degree position into a lesser angle and hold for the same time, then position at an even lesser angle for the same time and then switch legs. The Twist Time to level out the shoulders and arms and get that tired lower back unwound. Lie on your back with your legs bent at 90 degrees and flopped over to one side. Grab a hold of your legs with the same hand if needed and stretch out your other arm, palm up and get your shoulders to lay flat on the ground. This may take several sessions. **Relax the bottom leg and hip and remember to BREATH. Give this about 10 minutes on each side. To come out of this position swing your extended arm back toward the front and use both arms to help pull your legs around to the other side and repeat The Electric Chair People are sitting too much in today's world. This exercise will re-engage the quads and help relax the hip flexors and low back muscles and improve your posture. Position yourself about two and a half steps away from a wall, lean back against the wall and slide down so that your legs are at about 90 degrees. Push the hips and low back into the wall like you are trying to push the wall over. Keep your head back against the wall if you can and hold this position for 3 minutes. YES! I said three minutes. **MAKE SURE TO KEEP BREATHING from your diaphragm. An alternate move is to press your arms and hands against the wall. This helps engage the shoulders. You can do it and it does get easier. Perseverance is the key! Out of the closet A door works quite well for this exercise. A Pole, a door frame or something else you can grab hold of all do well, too. **Keep the back straight, lower back arched and squat down like in the electric chair with the legs at 90degrees and the feet shoulder width apart. Keep the knees and hips parallel and hold this for one to two minutes. **Remember to breath. Sit up Straight In all of our sitting in chairs and driving we've disengaged the backs of the legs. This exercise stretches out the butt, calves and hams. Sit up against a wall with your back flat against the wall and your legs out in front of you with your hands resting comfortably. Now point your toes up toward the ceiling and flex them toward you as far as you can and tighten the thighs. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as well, but DO NOT raise your shoulders. Hold this for about 6 minutes. I I Bow to you This exercise takes the hips out of flexion, restores the spine's curve and forces your shoulders to disengage from their compensating position. Find a table that's about waist level; a counter, a china cabinet, anything will work. Place your palms flat on the surface either side by side or on top of each other. Bend forward at the hips with your arms stretched out parallel to the head. Make sure your feet, ankles and knees are aligned directly under your hips. Let your head sink down and make sure your hips are tilted forward and thighs are high. Hold this for five to ten minutes. Like Clockwork Let's get into some wrist and shoulder exercises that are vital in today's world of computers and typing. Find a wall and face it with your toes pointed in together, but not your knees! Start with your arms at twelve o'clock, elbows straight and your thumbs pointed away from the wall and slightly outward; Kind of like Fonzie from Happy Days. (Yes, I've just dated myself) Hold for one minute. Next position your arms at Ten and Two and hold for one minute. After that position your arms at Three and Nine for one minute. Make sure you are against the wall with your shoulders rotated away from the wall. The Pictures follow the exercise. Body on the Edge First, make sure you are wearing shoes that aren't going to slip on the ledge. Next, find a ledge; a step ladder works great and most everyone has one. You can pick one up for about $40 or less. With your feet shoulder width apart and parallel. Make sure you are holding on to something so you don't fall. Place your heels off the edge of the step and let your heels fall and let your body weight sink into your heels to engage the posterior muscles of the legs. **Don't bend the knees. Hold this for Three minutes. This exercise re-engineers the link between the heel ad all the joints straight up to the shoulders. **Again with the breathing!! The Frog Yes, it looks funny, but it's great for putting the pelvis into a neutral position and tames the thigh and groin muscles. Lay flat on the floor with your legs bent and feet together. Make sure your feet are centered in the middle of your body; your feet don't have to be any particular distance from your torso. Just let your legs relax into this position and try not to force the legs down. Hold this stretch for one minute. Cat Cow This is a great exercise for getting the shoulders and hips to commune and work together in harmony. Start by positioning your arms and legs parallel so the your knees and hands make a square. Next, arch your back toward the ceiling and curl your head in toward your chest. Inhale as you move out of this position and bring your head up toward the ceiling and arch your back and drop your belly toward the ground. Repeat this 30 times. Baton-A-Thon This exercise can be done while watching TV, standing in line anywhere or waiting for your plane at the airport. Extend your arms out to each side and retract your shoulder blades slightly. Put your hands in a golf grip. Start with your thumbs up and slightly back, like Fonzie. Rotate your whole arm counter-clockwise so that your thumbs start pointing down, then go back up clockwise again. Repeat this 25 times. Your goal is to be able to do 75 of these at a time. This exercise re-engages the rotator cuff and strengthens internal muscles which help your posture and relax the neck muscles. The Chicken Wing This is also one of those exercises that can be done while sitting around with nothing for your body to do. Start with the backs of your fingers at your temples and extend the arms back parallel to the shoulders. Then, flex the arms forward as far as you can. Remember to breath and do this whole routine 25 times. Doing this exercise will engage the scapula and shoulders and strengthen your posture. Structure and Balance... we have it. At least we're supposed to have it. The body has eight right angles hidden in it at the ankles, knees, hips and shoulders and those right angles are there when we are born. Through proper use and motion those right angles will stay with us forever and the structure of the body will never wear out under normal use. I say normal use because the body is designed to move and utilize all of it's muscles on a daily basis. Because of the way jobs and society have evolved the body isn't being used the way it should be. We sit too much, slouch too much and have gotten certain muscles into disuse. Disc degeneration, tendon and ligament strain and tears, cartilage degeneration, carpal tunnel syndrome and many other “diseases” are emerging more often than not. Through proper use of your body you can overcome most all of these things without surgery. The body will heal its structure if given the right types of exercise and the right conditions. The key is to give it those conditions. Unless there is some genetic predisposition or structural damage all of the symptoms of a body out of balance can be fixed by simply putting it back in balance. This means that it's up to you to make this work. The exercises and massages and help won't work unless you put it into practice. The exercises presented to you are not a complete set, but rather a short list to help you get back on track. A man named Pete Egoscue has written several books on postural alignment. “Pain Free. A Revolutionary method to stop chronic pain.” “The Egoscue Method of Health through Motion,” and “Pain Free at your PC” are all written by Mr. Egoscue and are available at any book store. I strongly suggest you pick one up. You are in charge of your own body! The body is designed to move in all manner of directions: sitting, squatting, bending, climbing, reaching, swimming, running, you name it, your body is designed to do it. Get your body back into balance and proper structure now so that you will be able to work ad live well your entire life.