12 Weeks to Fitness: Staying active

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Welcome to 12 Weeks of Fitness, a weekly blog series by Kris Mitchell, a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas and alumnus of ThreeSixty Journalism. Kris is involved in a 12-week program at St. Thomas to lose weight and improve his health. A team of videography students will document his progress for a class project. Check back weekly to read about Kris’s experience.
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I am continuing in my recovery from the surgery I recently had on my back (read more about that in my week 4 blog) and I am up and moving around. I am quite the stubborn person. I am working with restrictions for my back (and also continuing with my diet.) The two restrictions I have been given are not to lift more than 10 lbs. and not to bend down to help prevent further injury to the middle of my back.

Obviously, I am unable to exercise. To try to keep my muscles moving, I have adapted small but more useful techniques of using my muscles besides eating granola bars and sitting on the couch watching re-runs of SpongeBob and Judge Judy . These exercises are able to be used by anyone at any time!

The Water Jug Lift
One such exercise is to fill an empty milk jug with water. Sitting in a chair, keeping your back straight, lift the milk jug up and hold it straight out in front of you. Hold for 5 seconds and lower the milk jug at your side. You can repeat this many times. To make it a little more difficult, you can increase duration you hold the milk jug each time you lift it. You can even add a second jug to lift at the same time with your other hand!

The Bungee Pull
A second easy exercise involves a small bungee cord. Sit down on the ground and place the bungee cord across the bottom of your feet. Hold both ends of the bungee cord with your hands and extend your legs out straight. Pull the cords until your elbows are bended at 90 degrees angles. Hold for 5 seconds and relax. You can repeat this as many times as you want and increase time you hold for each pull to add a little bit of a challenge.

Watch me demonstrate these exercises.

I am doing these exercises and ones similar to these to help my body recover from surgery. They re-work my back muscles to loosen them up and increase strength. These have sped up by recovery time and kept me on track to be in better shape . My weight has gone up a little since I have been limited by my lack of exercise.

- Kris Mitchell, University of St. Thomas sophomore and ThreeSixty Journalism alumnus

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