The other day I came across an article by Mr Steve Maxwell of Maxercise – The Maxwell Daily Dozen. This is a series of relatively simple mobility exercises to span the whole body. There are actually 14, but the last 2 are for days where you have more time.
After only 2 sessions with this, I am noticing a significant difference in my overall feelings of agility and looseness, particular in my lower back. Granted, this is a marked difference considering I’ve been lax on the mobility and stretching side of things.
This is also why I addressed this posts to the “Desk Jockeys” out there. Seasoned athletes or strength training devotees will definitely benefit from these exercises but will not notice the difference as much as someone who sits on their butt 8-12 hours a day. These exercises will get your circulation moving, and the last couple of exercises will also tax your muscles. The whole thing is low impact, so almost anyone could try these TODAY! So how about trying them now!?
I have been doing this first thing in the morning, and I can HIGHLY recommend it as a fantastic way to get your day moving. Get up, put your coffee on, and get started. Grab the coffee, and keep going! Mr Maxwell does not mention how many reps you should be doing per exercise. I looked it up, and found that Mike Mahler also recommends The Maxwell Daily Dozen and suggests doing each exercise 10 times. I am not going to disagree, but I will add that on work days, perhaps 5 reps is enough to keep the entire exercise time down to about 15 minutes. On weekends, go nuts and do 10.
Remember to do the breathing like Steve says, as holding your breath can be dangerous when stretching to your limit. The proper breathing will probably take a while to get down, but at least make sure you’re breathing naturally and calmly. A nice side benefit of this routine is that, since it is fully body, it will show you where you hold tension, or are particularly tight. You can then work on those problem areas separately later on.
For beginners, I can quote Scott Sonnon‘s advice, ‘Move to the tension, not through the tension.’ In other words, do not force the stretch where you are experiencing resistance. Instead, push the stretch just until you feel the tension. Speaking of Sonnon, if this routine gets you going, you could also try the Intuflow DVD, which has 4, progressively more difficult joint mobility routines. In fact some of the Daily Dozen exercises are similar to those in the Beginner section of Intuflow.
If you feel lethargic, stiff, and low on energy, you should definitely try this routine every morning. Take 15 minutes instead of checking your email or Facebook or whatever and do this. Anything is better than nothing. You don’t need to hit the gym, pool, or running track. Start with mobility exercises and feel the difference!
So try it next time you get the chance: The Maxwell Daily Dozen