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Handbook for successful ageing - 3.3.2 Exercises 1 - 10


3.3.2 The gymnastics programme 1. - 47.

Do exercises 1-20 on a thick carpet or a (gymnastics) mat and in surroundings where you cannot become ill. The clothes you wear should also prevent you from becoming ill. At best you do the exercises barefoot, because it is good for your feet and because your band will slip underneath your sole while you do exercise 10 if you wear socks. Do the later/successive exercises on the balcony or with an open window for fresh air.

In the following I use the word "push" several times, when I mean that the exercise should be done quickly. If you are untrained you should extend your leg rather low for the beginning.

1. Crouch down, rest your left hand askew behind you, rest the right hand next to you, push your legs in turn forward, then lay on your back.

Stretch your legs as wide/long as possible by bending and stretching your feet a few times; let your arms hang backwards, teeter them a few times up and down, then remain completely stretched for a few seconds.

2. Clasp your hands below your head, in order that the movements with your legs don’t shake your cervical vertebra and let your elbows hang to the side.

a) Tighten your left leg in a fluent/smooth movement, push/kick it away horizontally, lower it and bend it once more without contacting the floor; do this - in order to call to mind - three times while you breath in and three times while you breath out; therefore breathe in while you count 1, 2, 3, and breathe out while you count 4, 5, 6; do the same exercise (to mention it again) with your right leg;

b) throw your left leg again in a fluent movement in the air, bend it, lower it and thrust it out without touching the floor;

c) raise slightly the stretched legs, spread jerkily/fitfully/suddenly your legs and bring them together; turn your toes a little inwards in order that your ankles don’t clink together;

d) lift your legs, at first the left one a bit higher than the right one, sway the lift one rightwards, the right one to the left and back again, then sway the right leg over the left one; since this exercise exerts especially after the previous exercises, do them only half as often as the other ones;

e) bend the legs and let the knees fall to the sides (outwards). Afterwards you turn both knees together tot he left and the right and at the same time the slightly lifted upper body in the other direction, breathe in counting to 1 and 2, breathe out counting to 3 and 4;

f) bend the left leg, put you foot on the floor, as close to the upper right leg as possible and extend your leg to the floor again; breathe in on 1 and 2, breathe out on 3 and 4;

g) bend your knees even further and push the pelvis upwards;

h) lifting your leg extend your legs alternately;

i) clasp your hands behind your head, pull the head and the upper body upwards and lower them again.

3. Extend the arms to the back, the left arm a bit higher than the right one, and sway them crosswise, as explained in section 2.d).

4. Place both arms parallel next to your body and lift the head, the arms and the legs; breathe in when lifting and breathe out when lowering; however, lower the arms to the back first and then to the front the next time. Try to put down the head, the arms and the legs at the same time if possible. It’s important for the back! Don’t do exercises, however, which were originally recommended as "flick knife" or "sit-up" since these can be harmful for the spine.

5. Bend the left leg, clasp it with both hands in the hollow of the knee, pull it tightly towards your chest and extend it against the tension of your arms, breathe in on 1 and breathe out on 2.

6. Place your hands next to your body, fingertips on the floor, draw up your legs, sway them to the back and push your arms on the floor, so that the tips of the toes touch the floor if possible, swing the legs several times outwards and come into the shoulderstand, hold it several seconds, bend your legs and roll down one vertebra after the other; don’t get discouraged if you can’t do the shoulderstand at the first try.

7. Rest your arms next to your body, lift your head and shoulders and slide your fingertips as far forward as possible. Important for the back!

Now- at the latest - you should roll your head slowly to each side in order to ease your muscles in the neck!

8. Bend the legs, fold your hands under your knees, push your legs forward to come to a seating position, and roll back with your back bend; breathe out when lifting and breathe in when lowering; don’t get discourage if you aren’t able to come to a seating position the first time.


a) Sit down and bend your upper body as far forth and back as possible, the hands gliding forward and backward on the legs; breathe in when bending forwards;

b) Bend both legs, clasp your ankles from the inside, push the knees to the sides with your arms and pull the feet closer so that the soles of the feet touch;

c) Bend your legs and lift your lower legs alternately; breathe in on 1 and 2; breathe out on 3 and 4.

10. Note: this exercise is very strengthening but it may be harmful for your spine: sitting down bend your knees and place your hands behind your body.

a) Lift your pelvis as high as possible and lower it again, breathe in on 1 and breathe out on 2; since this exercise and the next one can be tiring you should only do them half as much;

b) keep your pelvis lifted and lift the legs alternately; breathe in on 1 and 2, breathe out on 3 and 4;

c) lift your pelvis and move it circular, from the left to the front, to the right, to the back and the other way around some horizontal movements; from the left upwards, to the right downwards and the other way around some vertical circles.





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