Sunday, November 10, 2013

Day 244 A helpful book and a great exercise

Several years ago, I bought a copy of Rochelle Rice's Real Fitness for Real Women. Like some of you, I've owned a lot of these books, read some, perused others, and found lots of claims and not much of value. But this book I've hung on to. Here's why:

1. The photos of the exercises feature two fat women who look like me. I don't mean that literally or maybe I do. They're regular women. Nice-looking in t-shirts and leggings. They don't look like models or actresses. They look like the women who work out at my gym. Ordinary and fat. In the Jane Fonda videos I used to work out to, she always had one heavy woman in the back, a kind of token fat person, while the rest of the class were sleek, made up, costumed. In Rice's book, we are the class.

2. This book promises little and delivers a great deal. There are no outrageous claims, just kind, gentle advice about how to get moving and feel better. She offers suggestions for taking care of your skin (chaffing) and your feet. She talks about the many reasons that lie behind weight gain. It's a sensible book, a reasonable book, and a really helpful book.

Here's her Breathing for Me exercise, which I use both during exercise and at my desk when I'm working.

1. While seated, begin to notice your breath. Keep this simple. Note that as you inhale, your abdominal wall expands, and when you exhale, the abdominal wall falls or softens.
2. Place both hands on your abdomen below your navel. Your fingertips should be pointing toward your pubic bone. Inhale, allowing your abdomen to expand forward into your hands.
3. As you exhale, gently use your hands to pull your abdominal muscles UP and IN, as if you were zipping up a pair of pants.
4. Repeat 4 times, then rest by relaxing the abdominal muscles and maintaining the length of your spine.
5. Begin again, performing the exercise for another set of 4, and rest.
6. Repeat this exercise twice a day at your office desk or any other time or place that is convenient. Repeat at least twice a day.

For more information about Rochelle's programs, visit

No comments: