Stay-At-Home Exercise Moves – March 30

3-Way Leg Swings (for balance, joint mobility, range of motion, core stability, single leg strength) Note: In the beginning, perform smaller swings to maintain balance. The whole point of this exercise flow is to improve your mind-body connection and enhance muscle activation to improve your balance.

3 way leg swings


3-Way Leg Swings (in bare or stocking feet); Perform 10 – 20 repetitions, 1-2 sets daily.
NOTE: In the beginning, do each swinging leg exercise (i.e. forward/back) on one leg, then the other. As your single leg strength increases, attempt to do all repetitions for the 3-way swings first on the right leg, then on the left.

How to perform: Begin by standing on one foot. Feel your foot gripping the ground and engage the glute of the standing leg to help you balance. Brace your abs and stand up nice and tall. Stand near a chair or wall for balance as needed.

Keeping both legs fairly straight, but not locked out, begin to swing the other leg forward and backward. Start with smaller swings, then increase range of motion. Swing from the hip, don’t just bend your knee and kick your lower leg. The bigger your swings are, the more your standing leg will have to work to balance.

To warm up the joint, perform smaller swings during the initial repetitions and/or tap your foot down as needed to reset and stabilize. When holding onto a chair or wall, you will have removed the balance component of this exercise, however, you may now focus on hip mobility by engaging in larger swings.

Complete all reps of the forward/backward swing then, switch to the lateral swings. For the lateral swings, swing the leg up to the right and then to the left in front of your standing leg. You may even feel the outside of that glute working to raise the leg up as you swing it. The bigger your swing, the more you will open up your hip and force your standing leg to work hard to balance.

Next, perform the rotational swings by bending the knee of the moving leg to 90 degrees.  then bring the bent knee in front of you and open it out to the side. Bring the knee back forward, keeping the leg bent the entire time. Really focus on opening from the hip with this move. You should really feel the glute of the standing leg working as you rotate. The more your rotate, the harder the move will be, but also the more you will open your hips and get your glutes activated.  You will know you are doing this move correctly, as you will feel your foot, calf and even your shin muscles working to balance. You will also feel your glute and core engaging as you swing your leg to open your hip.


Living in a healthy, strong body does not happen by chance, but rather by choice. This is most honestly true if the body you are living in has celebrated at least 50 birthdays. If your current body is one of the 50+ year old models, do you regularly choose to move yourself in a way which might be construed as exercise? Do you walk, jog, lift weights, bike, dance, swim, go to a gym or fitness class at least once a day? If not, how about these activities: sweeping or vacuuming floors, washing dishes by hand; cleaning windows; gardening. Do not discount your household activities, they require bodily movement and as such, may be considered purposeful exercise for your body.

Whatever activities you do to move your body for well-being, the best fitness outcome will occur when you actively, mindfully move yourself every day. If not everyday, how about every other day? If you cannot or choose not to move yourself on purpose most days of the week, then prepare yourself, and your body for some disturbing news: if you do not change what you are doing today to become more active, by this time next year you will have gained weight and lost strength!

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. John C Maxwell

Now for the good news! Every day presents you with opportunities; perhaps that is part of the problem, too many choices. Regardless, every day provides you with at least 10 minutes from which you may engage yourself physically so as to build strength, stamina and flexibility. All you have to do is make a decision to move and then…MOVE IT!

“Do something today which your body will thank you for 10 years from now.”

Here’s what I do for myself to make it easy. This might work for you too. Just move for 10 minutes! If you don’t feel better after moving about for 10 minutes, then return to your former activity and try again a few hours down the road. This is how an inactive person becomes a more active person, 10 minutes at a time.

In case you find yourself in front of the television or computer screen for more than 10 minutes today, you can move it (your body) in between your sit time with some of these Move It moves:

  1. 10 squat touchdowns
  2. 10 high knee steps
  3. 10 wall or floor pushups
  4. 10 pogo hops
  5. 10 inchworms

To stave the decline of passing years upon your body, DECIDE TODAY to make physical fitness a PRIORITY in your life. I know this sounds like work to you, but I promise you this: If you will choose activities which seem like fun to you, then moving your body more minutes each day will seem less like work and more like a gift for yourself. Just move more and NEVER GIVE UP TRYING. 



Run Shared = Fun Shared

One year ago today I posted on my blog about my second running of the Cinco de Mayo 10K/5K event in Tucson. I’m not sure why I looked at my post from last year, but after reading it I knew I wanted to write about today’s experience, my third entry of this race venue on this first day of May, 2016.

Much like 2015, the New Year 2016 found me busily occupied with family caretaking duties until late March with little time to run except 1 or 2 days a week. During the month of April I was able to return to some regular training, but I knew it would be at least another month before I could be race ready for the summer season. However, it was during this time of refreshed training when I realized that several of my personal training clients desired to improve their aerobic conditioning. Wouldn’t this be a good opportunity to challenge them to enter the Cinco de Mayo 5K event and join me in walking the course?

Well, in short order we had a team of 7 individuals willing to put their best two feet forward for a race in which they would only have 3 weeks to train. While this is not how I usually prepare my clients to train for a race event, the urgency of the looming 5K certainly provided us all with an extra dose of focus and purpose for our aerobic training in the days leading up to today.

Now imagine my delight, and theirs too, when we discovered that two of our team members placed in their age groups this morning! Had I run today’s race, I would likely have placed too, but what I discovered was something even more valuable than another personal age group achievement: A joy shared, is a joy doubled.

What I cherish most about today’s event as it relates to all the days which have passed in this crazy busy Spring of 2016, is the tiny role I had in helping these fun-ready ladies reach and exceed their goals on race day today. Cheers and high-fives to all of Team Oracle!


Fit for Life…Everyday Exercise 10 of 10

REVERSE DELTOID FLY! This is the tenth and last exercise in the functional fitness series. The reverse deltoid (shoulder) fly exercise targets the muscles on the posterior of the shoulders together with the muscles of the upper back. When this exercise is performed in a standing (bent over) position, the abdominal core, spine, glutes and lower back are also engaged.  A modified (seated) version of this exercise is also illustrated for those individuals who have lower back pain or weakness.

HOW TO: This exercise should  be initiated without hand weights first so as to develop the feel and posture of proper exercise form.

  • Stand with your legs about hip-width apart, arms at sides. Bend your torso forward and bend your legs slightly so that your arms extend below your body with your hands facing each other. This is the starting position.
  • IMPORTANT: First check your posture via a mirror before beginning the exercise; make sure your upper back is flat (not rounded); squeezing your shoulder blades together will help flatten your back.
  • Now, make a fist with each hand, knuckles pointing toward the floor, then, raise your arms out to your sides, while squeezing your shoulder blades together during the movement, maintain a slight bend in your elbows at the end of your upward arc, and do not raise head/chin upward.
  • Next, lower your arms (slowly) to the starting position. This completes one repetition. Perform eight to 12 repetitions (without dumbbells).
  • Once you can perform 1 to 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions while maintaining good exercise form, its time to add some light dumbbell weights to your workout. Start with dumbbells that weigh less than or equal to 5 pounds each.
  • Using the dumbbells, perform 8 to 12 repetitions. That is 1 set. Perform up to 3 sets.


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Bent Over Reverse Deltoid Fly







MODIFICATION: Seated Reverse Deltoid Fly


Seated Reverse Deltoid Fly

Sit on the edge of a armless chair or bench with legs together, torso bent over legs, upper back flat (not rounded) and arms hanging alongside the outside of your legs. Then follow the ‘How To’ steps above to perform the seated version of this exercise.

This post concludes the functional fitness exercise series. I hope you have found this information helpful in guiding you towards a better understanding of your body’s capabilities in regards to ‘functional fitness’.

If you are able to practice these 10 exercises (as often as you can manage or tolerate) it may only be a matter of weeks (or a few months) before you notice increases in your functional strength and movement patterns.

I hope that whatever improvements you realize from these exercises will be enough to encourage and motivate you to KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!  Listen to your body, honor it with gentle, disciplined, functional exercise movements and it will serve you well for many days to come.

Fit for Life…Everyday Exercise 9 of 10

WOOD CHOPS! This is the ninth of ten exercises in the functional fitness series. This exercise mainly targets the abdominal core (front, side, back) but it also requires shoulders and hips to engage and stabilize the body during the rotational movement phase. The wood chop can be performed with a dumbbell, medicine ball, cable pulley, or resistance band. This exercise has many progressions and variations and is suitable for most every fitness level.

HOW TO: Perform this exercise without a weight in your hand; practice moving through the entire range of motion un-weighted.

High to Low Wood Chop

  • Start with you feet wider than shoulder width apart, toes point slightly outward.
  • Clasp both hands together (or hold weight) elbows extended (but not locked), above and to the right side of head/body.
  • Rotate arms and torso downward towards left side of body.
    • Towards hip if standing
    • Towards knee if squatting
  • Return to start
  • Perform 8 to 12 repetitions
  • Switch sides; repeat exercise

Wood Chop standing


Wood Chop squatting

Low to High Wood Chop

  • Start with you feet wider than shoulder width apart, toes point slightly outward.
  • Clasp both hands together (or hold weight) elbows extended (but not locked), to the right side of body.
    • Towards hip if standing
    • Towards knee if squatting
  • Rotate arms and torso upward towards left side of body.
  • Return to start
  • Perform 8 to 12 repetitions
  • Switch sides; repeat exercise
low to high woodchop

Low to High Wood Chop







Remember: Use no weight or something which weighs less than or equal to 5 lbs. when you first begin practicing this exercise. Because of the rotational aspect of the wood chop exercise, perfecting your form first will help prevent muscle strain in your lower/upper back.

Fit for Life…Everyday Exercise 8 of 10

SINGLE LEG SHOULDER PRESS! This is the eighth of ten exercises in the functional fitness series. This exercise targets the shoulder muscles while enhancing core stability and simultaneously challenging your balance.

HOW TO: Stand on your left leg. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palms facing forward and keep your core tight and spine neutral as you raise it straight above your head. Slowly lower your right arm down so that your right elbow and forearm form a 90-degree angle (pictured below). shoulder pressRepeat the movement for 8 to 12 reps and then perform the shoulder press while holding the dumbbell in your left hand. Now balance on your right foot, holding the dumbbell in your right hand, press up for 8 to 12 repetitions; then repeat holding the dumbbell in your left hand for the same about of repetitions.


Note: Choose and use a dumbbell weight which you can press up at least 8 times with one arm.

HOW TO PROGRESS: 1. Hold dumbbells in both hands, balanced on one leg, press both arms above shoulders for 8 to 12 repetitions. Switch to balance on your other leg, repeat repetitions.
2. Hold dumbbells in both hands, balanced on one let, alternatively press one arm at a time above shoulders for 8 to 12 repetitions. Switch to balance on your other leg, repeat repetitions.

Fit for Life…Everyday Exercise 7 of 10

HIP BRIDGES! This is the seventh exercise of ten in the functional fitness series. This move targets the glutes and the core (abdominals and spine) and promotes hip flexibility and strength in the hamstrings and hip adductors.


  • Lie on your back.
  • Place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, toes pointing forward, with your knees bent.
  • Contract your abs and your glutes.
  • Exhale and lift your hips off the floor until your body is a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  • Hold this position for a two count and lower hips back to the floor.
  • You may perform the bridge as a continuous movement, or hold the pose for extended periods of five seconds or more.
  • Remember to keep breathing normally if you hold the pose for an extended period.
hip bridge

Basic Hip Bridge

HOW TO PROGRESS: There are several variations that will challenge and activate additional muscle groups in your legs, hips and lower back. Progress to any of the following only after you can perform 1 – 2 sets of 8 to  12 repetitions of the basic hip bridge without hamstring cramping or lower back strain.

  • Single leg hip bridge. After you lift your hips off the floor, extend one leg into the air. Or start this hip lift with one leg on the floor and one leg extended. You may perform this pose as a continuous movement for a count of two, or hold the pose for five seconds or more.
single leg hip bridge

Single leg hip bridge

  • Perform a basic hip bridge with your feet above floor level (on a chair or bench) or on an unstable surface like a stability ball.


glute bridge on ball

Hip Bridge on Ball

Functional exercise number 8 of 10 will be posted by December 9th.

Fit for Life…Everyday Exercise 6 of 10

SINGLE LEG DEAD LIFTS! This is the sixth exercise of ten in the functional fitness series, and it is the first exercise of the series which provides balance, strength, mobility and stability training all at once for the lower body. Specifically, dead lifts will target the hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles, while engaging joints at the ankle, knee and hip.


  • Assume a single-leg stance
  • Keep the back straight and the torso tight. Look straight ahead, retract shoulder blades.
  • Prepare for movement by balancing 100% on supporting leg then,
  • Lower the upper body by bending at the hip. Keep the back straight and supporting knee soft (with a slight bend).
  • Swing the free leg back so it stays in line with the torso.
  • Simultaneously move your arms forward (away from your body) to counter balance.
  • Lower the upper body until a mild stretch is felt in the hamstrings.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Perform as many repetitions as you can (5 – 12) while maintaining good form (see picture 2 below).
  • Repeat on other leg.
single leg dead lift

Single leg dead lift


In the beginning, you may need to modify (reduce) your range of movement for this exercise. If you cannot balance with your swing leg fully extended behind you, then hinge only to the point where you can maintain your balance before returning to the starting position. If you’ll practice a few repetitions every day, your balance and stability will improve in short order.

TO PROGRESS: Once you are able to perform a full set of 10 – 12 repetitions in good form, you may increase your posterior strength chain by holding dumbbells (3 to 8 pounds) or a weighted bar in your hands while performing this exercise. Start with lighter weights and maintain proper form while  performing 8 to 12 repetitions on each leg.


Single leg deadlift with dumbbells

Functional exercise number 7 of 10 will be posted by December 4th.

Fit for Life…Everyday Exercise 5 of 10

JUMPING JACKS! This is the fifth exercise of ten in the functional fitness series, and it is the first exercise in the group so far which provides an opportunity to train the cardio-respiratory system while also challenging your functional balance and coordination. The shoulders, core, hips, legs and ankles are all activated during a jumping jack maneuver.

This old-fashioned, body weight exercise is considered a high impact maneuver when executed in its traditional form. The hops made out to the side may create too much impact stress for individuals with joint pain or instability in their knees, hips, or ankles. Shoulder joints will also be used to a full range of motion (overhead), so again, moderate your moves if you have known weakness or pain in these areas. A modified jumping jack (described below) may be performed and will give you similar fitness benefits while keeping your joints happy.


  • Stand with your feet together and your hands down by your side.
  • Engage your stomach muscles, then
  • In one motion jump your feet out to the side and raise your arms above your head.
  • Immediately reverse that motion by jumping back to the starting position.
  • Perform as many repetitions as you can (10-100) while maintaining good form.

Jumping Jack


  • Stand with your feet together and your hands down by your side.
  • Engage your stomach muscles, then
  • In one motion move one foot out to the side and raise your arms above your head.
  • Immediately reverse that motion by returning your arms and leg to the starting position.
  • In the next motion, move the other foot out to the side and raise your arms above your head.
  • Perform as many repetitions as you can (10-100) while maintaining good form.

jumping jack modified

TO PROGRESS: Once you are able to perform 2 to 5 sets of  10 repetitions of jumping jacks, you may want to add small jump rope type hops and / or skipping moves to the jumping portion of your functional fitness routine. All of these exercises will help increase your leg strength, stamina, balance and coordination. Functional fitness exercise 6 of 10 will be posted before the Thanksgiving holiday. Cheers!

Fit for Life…Everyday Exercise 4 of 10

WALKOUTS! This is the fourth exercise of ten in the functional fitness series and as such it is a true body weight exercise. The walkout will use every major joint in the body when executed to completion. It is for this reason that it has a prominent place in the top ten daily exercises.

The Walkout

How To Perform: Before engaging in the actual walkout exercise you may want to perform some lower body exercises to warm up your legs and back before beginning the walkout. Once you are warmed up, perform a few toe touch repetitions (step B) to realize a nice stretch in your legs and back.

If you are still working on upper body strength and not sure whether you can perform the entire exercise with good form, then only perform steps A through C of the walkout for the first week or two before walking yourself out (and back) to the high plank position. You may bend your knees during the beginning of the walkout phase to assist your hands reaching the floor without over-stretching your hamstrings.

Perform three to ten walkouts each day, paying special attention to your form throughout the exercise. When you reach the end of the walkout (step D), make sure your shoulder and wrists are aligned (one above the other), and engage your core (no sagging or hiking at the hips) so your body forms a straight line from shoulders to toes. Hold this position for a count of three to five seconds, then walk yourself back to a standing position. Perform up to 10 repetitions.

Little by little one walks far. ~ Peruvian Proverb

How To Progress: As you gain upper body strength and core stamina, you can progress this exercise by adding some pushups at step D,  before walking yourself back to the standing position. Additionally, you may challenge your core strength by walking your hands out a couple inches past your shoulders and a little wider than shoulder width apart (pictured below). Hold this new position for three to five seconds in good form, then walk your hands back toward your feet to the standing position.

The Walkout Progressed

The Walkout Progressed

Perform these purposeful exercises faithfully everyday, and your strength and flexibility will improve before your very eyes. Functional fitness exercise 5 of 10 will be posted within the next few days. Keep moving!