Use A Pole To Get Fit In A Few Minutes A Day

Time is one of the most precious yet scarce commodities in our lives. So much to do and so little time. But health is more precious than time, though many of us neglect it. This needs to change: All you need is 10 minutes a day and a simple pole to vastly improve your fitness.

Getting Healthier

Many of us, especially those in their 60s and older, just don’t get enough exercise like aerobics, weight lifting or yoga for health. Yet, if we did, we would undoubtedly be healthier and more vibrant.

Osteoporosis (brittle bones) or even osteopenia (thinning bones) is a problem as we age. A lack of balance leads to falls that cause broken hips and fractured pelvises. Muscles lose their tone through lack of use. Blood pressure rises as a result of daily and lifetime stressors. All of these issues, as well as many others, need to be addressed. A lack of time or resources means most people can’t do everything they need to do, so taking prescription drugs to cope with physical weakness becomes the norm.

Drug Avoidance

It is simply healthier to avoid drugs whenever possible. And for issues like osteoporosis, cardiovascular health and muscle atrophy, various aerobic and anaerobic exercises need to be done. I don’t mean to discuss time management, though. I actually want to teach you a way to do more with less. Save time with an exercise set I developed that incorporates two ancient Chinese methods: Qigong and kung fu.

For this set of simple wellness exercises, I combined the “standing pole” Qigong exercise with the “pole rolling” exercises of kung fu. By doing this exercise set for as little as 10 minutes per day, you can effectively and safely increase your heart rate, expand your lungs, get your blood moving, tone and strengthen your muscles, build bone density to reverse or prevent osteoporosis, and improve your balance. You will work on six areas at the same time, and it requires only a weighted pole and enough space to stand. Talk about time management and doing more with less!

To get started, you need a weighted pole. You can use a standard 10-pound bench press bar, if you have one. I prefer to use the padded strength bars available at most chain sporting goods stores. These are great because they are padded and come in various weights, like 6 pounds, 9 pounds, etc. If you are out of shape, then starting with a lighter pole is better. For more robust individuals, a heavier pole is great. Either way, you can work your way up in weight and time.

Here’s what to do:

1. Begin by standing up with your feet a shoulders-width apart, knees bent.

2. Hold the bar in both hands, palms facing out, with arms by your side for one minute to get used to the weight.

3. Curl up the bar and hold it as close to your chest as possible for one minute.

4. Open your hands and slowly let the pole roll down your forearms, stopping at the bend in your elbows. Hold for one minute.

5. Slowly extend your arms forward while rotating out your elbows, balancing the pole across the crook of the elbows. Hold for two minutes.

6. Slowly tilt your forearms down a bit to allow the bar to slowly roll onto your wrists. Hold the bar in this position for two minutes. You can use your thumbs to keep the bar from rolling past your wrist.

7. Slowly roll the bar back up your arms to the elbows, turn your palms up and raise your hands to eye level. Hold this position for two minutes.

8. Rotate your elbows out and grasp the bar with both hands in the middle.

9. Hold the bar vertically in front of you with outstretched arms. Hold for one minute.

10. Finish by putting the bar back down.

Key Pointers:

  • When you get into your posture, do not move. With knees bent, even slightly, the muscles in the legs are firing.
  • With the weight of the bar and the unmoving posture, you experience isometric training. The bar is load bearing and helps lay new bone to improve bone density.
  • The longer you hold up the bar on your arms, the more difficult the exercise becomes. As your muscles get tired, the bar seems to become heavier, and your muscles have to work harder to keep the bar up.
  • When the muscles are firing and the weight feels heavier, the lungs and heart increase their activity. So even though it looks like you are doing nothing, you are increasing your heart and lung functions incrementally but not overtaxing these organs.
  • Holding the posture and pole still is difficult and requires concentration. This is where meditation comes in. This is a great time to practice some mindfulness breathing. As you breathe in and out slowly through your nose, mindfully examine the various sensations in your arms, hips, legs and feet. Feel the balance shifting and the blood moving.

This exercise set is simple and easy to do, yet is powerful. It combines meditation, energy work, kung fu, isometric exercise, strength training and endurance in a comprehensive wellness set that helps promote your overall wellness. Give it try!

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Dr. Mark Wiley

By Dr. Mark Wiley

Dr. Mark Wiley is an internationally renowned mind-body health practitioner, author, motivational speaker and teacher. He holds doctorates in both Oriental and alternative medicine, has done research in eight countries and has developed a model of health and wellness grounded in a self-directed, self-cure approach. Dr. Wiley has written 14 books and more than 500 articles. He serves on the Health Advisory Boards of several wellness centers and associations while focusing his attention on helping people achieve healthy and balanced lives through his work with Easy Health Options® and his company, Tambuli Media.