Column 9 - Exercise in Bed

Original publication date: November 2, 1983

The alarm clock rings and rings or the radio blasts telling you it's time to get up and get ready to face another day. If you're like most, you'll cower in the warm blankets and stall for time. If your house is like ours, you probably dread the dash to the cold bathroom across the cold floor.

There is something you can do in just a few moments. while stalling. You can exercise. (Thought you were safe in your own bed did you?)

Other than the most commonly enjoyed bed exercise, here's one which will safely strengthen the back. It is called "Five holes in the bed." Lie flat on your back, arms down at your sides. Push heels, head, elbows or hands (as you prefer) into the mattress. Do not anchor these parts into the mattress or heave your back up. Push to make five holes in the mattress beginning with any part. Push one part down, maintain this push, and add another part and push it down. It should be hard work as you're working against the resistance of the mattress. Do not hold your breath and do it only once.

Another good back exercise is commonly called the "pelvic tilt." Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Push your stomach into the small of your back and push-the small of your back into the mattress. Your rear end should rise slightly. Tighten your bottom and hold for a few seconds. This exercise is especially good for prenatal and postnatal women and people who wake up with stiff backs. Breathe in before the movement and blow out during the movement.

Your legs tend to lie close together and to cross during sleep. Lie on your back, separate your legs and roll the whole leg so the knee-cap turns inwards and outwards as fully as possible. The side of your foot should rest on the sheet when the leg is turned outward. You will probably only get your foot halfway to the sheet as you turn the leg inward. You have 10 muscles which turn your hip out and only three very small ones that turn your hip in. Since the hip-joint favours the outward rotation, you'll have to work harder on the inward rotation to get greater flexibility. Repeat as often as you like.

How many of you sit up in bed and read until the wee hours? A better question should be, how many know how to sit properly in bed while reading? Your head weighs about five kilos (12 pounds) so sitting up in bed while holding your head up could get very tiring. Remember to support your head, especially your neck, with pillows. Tuck a pillow behind your neck and another one behind your head. Never lean against the headboard or wall to read.

How you sleep at night will also determine how you'll feel the next morning. Sleep in a position which will curve the spine. Curled up on your side is preferable to maintain good posture out of bed. If you sleep on your back you should tuck a pillow under your knees to relax the spine. Since a good sleep is important to fitness, the better you sleep at night the better you'll feel the next day.

Copyright 2020 K.L. McCluskey, all rights reserved.