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These tips to help you get the most out of Chair Marching were given to me by Anne Burnell (a fully trained fitness instructor) She also runs the Stronger Seniors web site and cardiographs and leads the Stronger Seniors DVDs. Details of the DVDs can be found on her web site - Anne Burnell Fitness
If you march heavily with the heel of your foot, the impact can reverberate into your ankles, knees, hips, and lower back.
There is nothing wrong with engaging the core while marching, as long as breathing is full and steady.
Everyone is different, That's why I say, 'listen to your body'. What am I doing that cause the pain? When you feel pain, stop and listen to what your body is telling you.
So - how can you engage your core muscles?
As far as engaging the Core is concerned, this is a 'Mind/Body' exercise practice, as demonstrated in "Core Fitness' (Pilates) and 'Chair Yoga'. This does not mean you are exercising your mind and your body. It means being mindful of your body as you exercise. In other words, pay attention to your posture as you are exercising, pay attention to what muscles you are using as do your exercise. It is all about controlling (engaging) your body while breathing properly. It does not have to be strenuous and does not have to be hard. In fact, Pilates and Yoga are designed to be a stress relieving practice.
Unfortunately, the public is exposed to fast exercise done to fast music. A lot of people are so used to over stimulation that if they move slowly, they get bored and feel that it is not effective.
In chair marching (aerobics) you can move at a quicker pace to increase your oxygen intake. It isn't necessary to engage your core during these exercises though you can. It is more important to breathe deeply (through the nose preferably) and tread lightly. You can move quickly without stomping.
One of the easiest ways to engage the core while seated is to scoot forward on the chair and lean back- even three inches is ok. You can't help but to engage your abs. Put your hand on your tummy as you do this. You will feel the muscles tighten- but there is a unconscious reaction to slouch the shoulders forward, which counteracts the entire exercise. the back MUST be kept straight. A lot of people hold their breath whey do this. Bad. It's ALL in the breathing!
To engage the core while standing, practice the pelvic tilt. Stand straight and tall, and gently trust the hips forward... No movement in the shoulders! If you are not familiar with the pelvic tilt, think of what Elvis used to to do, just slowly.”
So what this adds up to is - that its not about the number of steps you do - it about doing the steps correctly, breathing correctly and marching lightly. You may not do as many steps - but what you do do will be better for you!!
Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once. -Anonymous
"If it is to be...It is up to me."
Strive for progress, not perfection.