This introductory session will start you off with a series of simple movements done while sitting in a sturdy chair. I start all my exercises with the feet and then work my way up.
1. Heel Lift: start with your feet flat on the floor with your toes facing straight forward; then lift your heel off the floor, but keep your toes on the floor. Gently push the heel up as far as you can comfortably move it, hold it for a second, and then lower the heel to the floor. Do this with each foot. Alternate feet and try for 8 heel lifts with each foot.
2. Foot stretch (tendu): Keep your toes on the floor and slide your foot forward as you point your foot - feel a stretch along the top of your foot (the instep area). Go as far as you can, then slide your foot back until the heel touches the floor. Alternate feet and try for 8 tendus with each foot.
3. Foot Lift: Start with both feet flat on the floor. Keeping your heel on the floor, lift your right foot off the floor (the instep and toes move up off the floor). Return to your starting position. Then lift the left instep and toes up while the left heel stays on the floor. Repeat with the right and left feet 8 times each foot.
4. Knee Lift: Sit up straight. Do not lean back in your chair. Use your stomach muscles to hold yourself upright. Your feet are flat on the floor. Lift the knee straight up by first lifting your heel, pushing off with your toes, and then lifting the leg as high as you can without straining. Then lower your knee - first have your toes touch the ground, then lower your heel to the ground until your leg is resting on the chair seat.
5. Knees Out - Knees In: Sit a little further forward on your chair so that you can move your knees open to the side. Put your hands on the outside of your knees or thighs, making sure you are securely balanced, then separate your knees while you gently push against the outside of your knees or thighs to provide a little pressure to push against. Then bring your knees together and squeeze your knees together for a count of three. Repeat this up to 8 times, if you can.
6. Cross Arm Body Twist with Breathing: Start by sitting upright and facing forward. Reach across the front of your body with the left arm and grab the right arm of your chair. Then twist your body gently around to the right as you breathe out. Hold for a count of 3. Keep your shoulders level. Let go with your left hand and return to your facing forward position as you breathe in. Do the same thing on the other side: reach across the front of your body with your right hand and grap the left arm of your chair. Then twist your body gently around to the left as you breathe out. Hold for a count of 3. Keep your shoulders level. Let go with your right hand and return to you facing forward position as you breathe in. Repeat this up to 8 times, if you can.
7. Rocking Side to Side: Start by sitting upright and facing forward, let your arms hang over the arms of your chair. Lower your right shoulder to the side and let your left shoulder ride up as you lean to the right - don't let your hips come off the chair seat, this is a small, rocking, upper body movement; then return to your upright position; then drop your left shoulder and let your right shoulder ride up as you lean to the left. See-saw right and left with your upper body, stopping at the upright position. Repeat 8 times on each side, if possible.
8. Stomach In and Out with Breathing: Start by sitting upright with one hand on your stomach and with the other hand palm out against the small of your back. Take a breath and feel your stomach expand outward. Breath out forcefully and pull your stomach in towards your spine - hold for a count of 3. Try to feel as if you are trying to bring your two hands together by breathing out and pulling your stomach muscles in. Repeat with breathing in and out at least 4 times and try for 8 repetitions.
9. Shoulder Lift and Drop: Sitting upright, lift both shoulders up towards your ears as far as you comfortably can. Then relax your shoulders and let them drop down, back to your starting position. Repeat at least 8 times.
10. Turn Head Side to Side: For your starting position, sit upright facing straight ahead and focus on something directly in front of you. Turn your head slowly to the right as far as you comfortably can, visualizing your chin moving along a flat surface so you don't tilt your head. Return to your starting position and repeat to the left. Do this move slowly and evenly for up to 8 times on each side.
11. Lift Both Arms Straight Out to the Side: Sitting upright with your arms hanging straight down by your sides, lift both arms straight out to the side with your palms facing the floor. Only go as high as you comfortably can, but don't lift your arms higher than your shoulders. When you have gone as high as you can, then turn your palms up to face the ceiling, making sure to keep your arms straight and to the side - don't let them drift forward. Hold for a count of three, then turn your palms back down to face the floor and slowly lower your arms. Breathe in as you lift your arms and breathe out as you lower them down. Try for 8 repetitions.
12. Head Tilt to the Side with Hand on Head: Sitting in your upright position, bring your left arm straight out to the side and then reach with your left hand over your head and put your hand on the right side of your head with your fingers just touching the top of your right ear. Keep looking straight ahead and gently tilt your head to the left. Think of bringing your left ear towards your left shoulder and use the weight of your left hand on your head to help stretch the muscles on the right side of your neck, at the same time do not raise your right shoulder - try to keep it relaxed. Do this very gently and slowly. Then release your left hand, and, as your bring your left arm back down to your side, straighten your head. Then repeat the same process on the right. Stretch on each side at least 4 times, and try for 8 repetitions on each side.
13. Breathing: Sitting upright, breathe in deeply and slowly while you raise your arms to the side as high as possible. Lower your arms slowly as you breathe out. Repeat at least 4 times - slowly.
This is our starting sequence of moves. They can be done at any time and you do not have to do them all at once. Do a couple of moves at a time just to stretch and relax your upper body or to get some circulation going in your feet and legs. The more you do, the better it is for you.
Don't do anything that hurts.
Each session will expand your repertory of moves from sitting, to standing, to walking.
Feel free to leave comments and requests, and watch "Sit, Stand, Move" on MATV as many times as you can.
That's it for now!