If you really don’t like the idea of allowing age or prior injuries stop you from doing the things that you love, you have to find a way to stay strong and increase your level of flexibility even in the face of those factors. In that case, you might be interested in practicing a set of five different exercises that are commonly referred to either as the Fountain of Youth or the Five Rites. Similar in many ways to yoga, yet separate from it, these exercises are a great option for a youthful body. The best part is that they only take a few minutes to complete and they can help you increase strength, flexibility and help relieve pain. They also serve as great energy boosters to help you get through a long and demanding day. When you are just starting out, try five or so repetitions of each exercise. As you become stronger and more flexible, you can build up to around 21 repetitions.
Stand up with your arms straight out to the sides and your feet a shoulder width apart. Stare straight ahead and spin clockwise. Remember, you should only spin a couple of times when you are first getting started. This might be enough to make you dizzy. If it is, point your thumbs toward your heart and stare at that particular spot. If necessary, make sure that there is a comfortable place to sit down nearby just in case. Remember to breathe deeply, inhaling and exhaling as you spin.
Lie flat on the floor with your arms straight out at your sides, so that they are almost touching your legs. Inhale, raising your legs straight up together and bringing your chin to your chest. If possible, try to pull your legs over your head. The idea is to pull your legs toward the upper part of your torso while keeping them straight until you start to feel your muscles pull. Hold the position for a moment, then return to your starting position as you exhale.
Kneel with your hands on the back of your thighs. Inhale as you force your hands straight down while simultaneously lifting your head up. Exhale and return to your starting position. This exercise will open up your upper back, helping to relieve pain and stiffness in the area.
Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight out. Put your palms on the floor directly in line with your shoulders. Inhale and lift your torso so that your knees are bent and you are perpendicular to the floor. Hold this position for a moment while simultaneously holding your breath. After a few seconds, exhale as you return to the starting position. Don’t get discouraged if you find this particular exercise particularly challenging. As you build up more strength and flexibility, it will get easier. Push yourself, but only to the point that you can do so safely. The last thing you want to do is suffer some type of injury that will only cause an additional set back.
Lie on your stomach with your palms down, in line with your shoulders. Inhale while forcing your upper body straight up. If you are familiar with yoga, you will know this as the cobra pose. Next, slide your feet forward as you draw your hips inward and upward into the downward-facing dog position. Slowly, return to the starting position as you exhale. This exercise is great for building strength in the arms and shoulders, not to mention increasing flexibility in your lower body and opening up any tension that might exist in your back. It also serves as a great exercise for enhancing abdominal muscles and strengthening your core.
The last thing you might want to do is practice body rolling. You can purchase a device made just for this purpose, or you can use one of those foam noodles that are so popular in swimming pools or even a piece of PVC pipe. The idea is to roll the device over all of the major muscle groups in your body. There are many benefits to doing this, including increased blood flow, thereby promoting better healing of injuries. It also breaks down scar tissue and helps provide you with better flexibility. In the end, it can reduce the amount of soreness that you experience from this or any other workout program.
Who doesn’t want to have better flexibility and a stronger body? The idea that you can get stronger and more flexible from doing these exercises should make everyone want to participate. Even when you incorporate body rolling, you only have to spend a few minutes each morning doing these exercises. Some people incorporate them in the morning and in the evening as their sole exercise routine. Even if you only have a little time to spare, you owe it to yourself the get up just 15 or 20 minutes earlier so you can accomplish these Five Rites. Before you know it, you can feel stronger, less sore and more flexible. Soon, you will understand why they call these exercises the Fountain of Youth.