Although we all know how important exercise is for helping to control our diabetes, we often forget one of the three main kinds. I know that I did.
Dr. Joe Prendergast’s book, The Uncommon Doctor, forcefully reminded me of this forgotten kind of exercise. You may want to see my review of this innovative endocrinologist’s new book.
Like most people who are controlling their diabetes, I walk regularly. And when the weather is bad, I use my treadmill. These are examples of aerobic exercise – activities that keep our heart rate up for more than a few minutes.
The second type is strength training, which builds and maintains lean muscle mass. Another name for it, which always confused me, is anaerobic exercise. I often lift 5-pound weights when I watch television. I know that it’s not much, but it’s a start. Push-ups, sit-ups and squats are examples of strength-training exercise that don’t require any equipment.
It’s the third type of exercise that Dr. Joe correctly says “is the most overlooked form of physical fitness.” He calls this flexibility training, but I just call it flex ex.
Flexibility is about how far we can reach. It’s about our ability to stretch and bend and twist.
The little aches and pains that so many of us feel are probably not so much that we are getting old. They mean instead that we have lost a lot of our flexibility.
Dr. Joe says that we should do these stretching exercises for 30 minutes a week. And when we start, he says not to overdo it.
“Those fast toe touches we used to do in gym class were a bad idea,” he says. “Don’t stretch to the point of pain, and hold each stretch for a half minute while breathing deeply.”
He mentions three types of stretching exercises – tai chi, yoga and Pilates. Years ago I did another type, the Arica Psychocalisthenics. It worked for me, but I got lazy after I left the Arica community.
A few days ago I pulled out my 30-year-old copy of Arica Psychocalisthenics by Oscar Ichazo. He founded the Arica School in 1968 as a School of Knowledge – spiritual to be sure. But unlike most other spiritual leaders, Oscar did not ignore the body.
You can buy copies of the new version of Arica Phychocalisthenics, now called Master Level Exercise: Psychocalisthenics (ISBN 0916554252 and 0939033003) for $25 or $30. But I have always preferred the original version (ISBN 0671222384 and 0671222376), which has the added benefit of being much less expensive. If you search for it at FetchBook , you can find used copies on the Web for less than $5.
If I had stayed with Arica for more than the four years that I was in the school, I might or might not be enlightened now. But I sure would have been in better shape. I could have been a contender to be as subtle as a ballerina.
But it’s never too late to get in shape, and I just started doing some of the Arica Psychocalisthenics again. No one is ever likely to mistake me for a ballerina, but I know that I need to become more limber. I will.
This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.