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Category Archives: Fitness Exercises

Balance Four


If you are like me, the exercises explained here seem quite simple. The motions involved simulate movements needed  to stimulate the muscles controlling balance while building the strength necessary to complete the motion.

I hope following along has not been too painful. Some of the muscles being stimulated may not have been used for quite some time. Drinking an extra couple of glasses of water each day will help flush the lactic acid out of your system. This lactic acid is the by product of the energy produced by muscle use, and when it remains in the muscle tissue, results in discomfort, or pain. The extra water introduced into the blood stream will help dissolve these acids to be flushed through the kidneys. The link above is an article in Scientific America that kind of refutes this belief, but not completely. I do know from experience that drinking water relieves the discomfort much faster than not drinking enough water!

My experience of following along with these exercises every day (I am up to doing them every day now) is that I hardly even have to rely on the chair for support at all now.  I have also begun doing each movement with my eyes closed, and I want to tell you this adds a complete new dimension to explore. I began this with the picking a spot and staring at it while completing each movement. While staring at the spot my focus kind of didn’t recognize the spot anymore. I was concentrating on the mechanics of motion, and wasn’t paying any attention to my sight. To follow this up, I just began closing my eyes. If you attempt this be sure to hold on to the chair at the beginning. As you get more confident with your balance, release the grip gradually until only your fingertips remain in contact. When you are comfortable with balancing there during the exercise, complete the motions “No Hands”. Big Rush.

Hip Extensions

This next balance exercise is for building strength in the lower back, hips and buttocks. You will want to make sure the back of the chair is no lower than your hips. This will help prevent stress to your lower back.

Since the muscles of your lower back are partly abdominal, I am going to introduce some easy, don’t have to get down on the floor, exercises in the next segment of this series. But now for Some Fun!

  1. Get that glass of water and take a gulp
  2. Stand behind the chair with feet flat on the floor less than shoulder width apart
  3. Take a couple of steps backwards while keeping your back straight
  4. Begin your breathing exercise and lift your leg up from the floor keeping the back and knee straight
  5. Inhale and exhale with each movement
  6. Do this motion slowly 3 to 5 times, drink some water, and repeat with the other leg
  7. Do 3 sets of these hip extensions. When you finish the water should be finished as well!

In Summary

This forth exercise is the final step for our first phase of balance motions. You should be comfortable doing some, or all of them while not using the chair for all of your balance. This exercise is incorporating the abdominal group of muscles with the buttock, hip, leg groups in a proactive way. We will begin some ab exercises next time.

I hope you have enjoyed these exercises for balance, and have found personal value from my instruction. Feel free to comment in the space below, or e-mail me at harpo7753@gmail.com. And please let me know if you feel more confident wading into the stream for that special honey hole fish. You can upload the pictures here too!

Mr Hook

Inspiration to Keep Going


I just read a post from a woman who was a girl a couple of years behind me in school. Her family was always athletic, and I most remember how well they dominated the ski slopes. That kind of dominance requires huge dedication to being a life long athlete! As the following review will reveal, this woman has carried her desire for continuing athleticism all the way through into later life, and revels in the joy being fit brings.

This reposting of her review provides a great snapshot of the will to keep aging at bay, and might act as a benchmark to work towards in future fitness for anyone with the desire to Keep Going.

Mr Hook

Please click on this link; http://www.alyciadarby.com/true-fitness-camp-santa-monica-truly-a-great-way-to-start-the-day/

Balance is Key Number Three


I hope the first two exercises in this fitness segment were very easy for you to follow and achieve. There will two more exercises in this series, and one will follow here in a moment. This exercise will be Key Number Three for helping to prevent debilitating falls from lack of strength and balance.

The next exercise is called side leg raises and will be the first one of these where you will be asked to actively use your balance to complete the movement. We will continue to use the chair for support. Please remember it is always there to lean on.

These balance exercises will also help to build strength in your leg muscle groups. Doing them on a regular basis will also bring back muscle memory very quickly. I would like to interject some caution about muscle memory right here. Just because the muscles help you to go on autopilot is not a sign to forget to focus on the action that is stimulating them to do so. Yes these exercises seem pretty easy to do, but it is the repetitive action that is creating muscle memory. So focus on each movement in a slow deliberate manner that includes controlled breathing.

Now for some Fun

  1. Get that glass of water and take a drink
  2. Stand beside the chair with one hand on the top of the back. (either side, we will switch)
  3. Keep your legs straight with toes pointed forward, take a nice breath, and exhale as you lift the outside leg straight out to the side. The leg does not have to go up high, only until you can feel it working.
  4. Hold the pose for a few seconds (maybe a three count), breath again and slowly bring the leg back to the starting position on the floor as you exhale.
  5. Repeat the action for the other leg by turning around.

Once again this seems to be a really easy exercise to do. As you gain confidence in the motions,(this will be at about the third or fourth repetition) begin relaxing the grip on the chair back where only one finger will be holding you there. Try to do two sets of these leg raises with about a 2 minute rest between sets, and more of your water. The water should be finished by the end of the second set of five alternated leg raises.

 In summary

  • Drinking the water is hydrating the blood, and enhancing the volume.
  • The breathing is providing the blood with oxygen to feed the muscles.
  • The exercises are short and repetitive thus helping with muscle memory.
  • The relaxed grip on the chair is stimulating a need to use balance.

This completes the third entry of this series about balance. There is one more exercise to follow in a couple of days. Be sure to stay tuned.

Mr Hook

The Continuing Quest for Balance


Just a little training

Need some balance here huh?

The muscles in the legs (yeah, I know I keep harping but stay with me) are the longest, and strongest in the body. They are also some of the easiest to stimulate for growth. If they get used, they stimulate the circulation, and that is a good thing right? Good blood circulation tends to make everything else work as best it can too. But if these muscles are just taken for granted, and not stimulated they will take the lazy way out!

When older leg muscles have been given the choice of working or lazing, and settle on being lazy, they will go along with the program as long as they are allowed to. As the muscles lose their strength, keeping balance becomes a very real issue.

To get the leg muscles out of their comfort zone is easy. Change the way they are used by doing repetitious things out of the comfort zone these muscles have slipped into. There may be an outcry from such an undignified prod to work in the form of tightness, and soreness at the onset, but these muscles rebound quickly. If there is actual Pain, please stop and consult someone about why. There should not be outright pain!

The second exercise of this series will again utilize a straight back chair, and will begin to build strength both upper and lower leg muscle groups. Other muscle groups will be affected, but we are focusing on the leg groups now.

Enough Blathering for now and on to the Fun!

  1. Begin by filling a glass with water and drinking some of it.
  2. Walk over to the chair and sit in it. (Pretty easy huh) Sit forward though, not all the way back. The goal is to stand back up.
  3. To stand back up comes next, but before you do, take a nice full breath of air and exhale as you slowly lift off the chair, back to a standing position. Remember to use your legs muscles to do this, and lean a little forward while lifting.  Please use the chair for support if you need to.
  4. Take another full breath and sit back down taking care to keep your legs in contact with the chair legs, and lean over a little bit as you exhale.
  5. Drink a little bit more of the water, and try to finish the glassful by the end of the exercises. The water and air help feed the muscles as they work.

Repeat this exercise as many times as you feel it is easy. If the motions become difficult, Stop.

If you begin to be sore for a couple of days, you may just want to quit. Not good! Remember why you started in the first place.

So in  summary;

  • These squat like exercises are going to shock your leg muscles into a growth pattern.
  • Growth brings added strength.
  • Strength aids with balance.
  • Balance allows you more freedom and confidence in everyday activities.

That is all I have for this post. I hope you find your own special value in it. I will have another exercise for you in a couple of days in The Continuing Quest for Balance.

Mr Hook

 

Balance Is Key


Enjoy the Wade

I was talking about wade fishing with friend of mine the other day when he mentioned his inability to safely wade in swift moving water. My first thoughts were of how depressing this would be for me, because some of my favorite experiences have been while wading some beautiful stretch of river, or creek. I vowed to study up on some exercises to help overcome the balance and strength needed to accomplish a fishing excursion to include possible wading.

I have been reading articles, and watching videos about leg strength exercises by the dozens. One of the first issues, in my mind, about beginning a program to improve leg strength for older people is Balance. If there is less than complete confidence in balance, how can the exercises even begin?

Lets look at balance exercises. Balance exercises help build strength in your leg muscles in order to maintain balance and prevent falls!

Knee Raise

This first exercise is to help strengthen thigh muscles and hip flexors. All you will need to perform this exercise is a straight back chair for support. If you are worried about falling, please make certain someone is with you. Maybe a  partner would be fun.

  1. Stand beside the chair with the back of the chair next to your left side.
  2. Place your left hand on the back of the chair. Put your weight on your inside (left) leg. Leave your knee slightly bent.
  3. Pick a spot in front of you to focus on. Take a deep breath.
  4. Now as you exhale, raise your right knee and bring it towards your chest. Try to maintain your standing posture without bending over. Don’t worry if you can’t raise your knee too high either. Practice will make it so.
  5. Inhale and hold this knee up for a count of one, two, three while holding onto the chair.
  6. On the exhale, return your foot back to the floor.
  7. Repeat this three to five times and then switch legs.

With a slight variation to this balance exercise you can add some challenge for building strength and improving stability. While your knee is still bent and in the air, point your knee outward to the side, and then back in. Return your leg to the front before placing it back on the ground.

In summary

This exercise will challenge your brain to step outside of the every day routine. Your muscles will respond to pretty much anything you tell them to do, but you have to actually do the action for the response. I have just outlined a simple, exercise for flexibility and balance for you. You can adjust the repetitions as you feel confident. This whole exercise should take no more than ten minutes, so make the most of each repetition.

I have a few more exercises that will help with balance, flexibility, and strength for the legs. I will add a couple more of them in a few days. By the way, I am doing these same exercises before giving them to you. Balance is the key to wade fishing, and the muscle memory and strength will increase in your legs with a little practice.

Mr Hook

Leg Power


Legs are the largest muscle group in the human body and many times the most ignored. Heck, you walk around just fine right? Well if the opportunity to go with some friends fishing to an extreme totally gnarly honey hole arises you might just be surprised how much your legs will hurt for the next few days after. Of course were assuming you can make it at all. Or maybe it might be the leg power you need to battle a black marlin from the back of a charter boat. Conditioning your legs will save you!

I know the two fishing conditions above may be out of your zone, but they are just a couple of examples about the importance of this topic. Strong leg muscles will set the tempo for any strenuous activity, and many fishing experiences are filled with the need for endurance.

I am going to describe a couple of exercises to help you add tensile strength for your leg muscles. These are simple, easy to do, and will not go unnoticed if done regularly. Be prepared for a little soreness a day or two after the first session, but the discomfort should go away and not return for the future if you keep it up. These exercises are low impact. You should experience no joint strain. It will also help if you begin with a few minutes of cardio to get the body’s temperature, and pulse rate up a little.

  • This is the target position

    Lasting Strength

    This is the correct position

    First exercise is to stand back against a wall. Your feet should be placed a comfortable distance away from the wall. Take two, slow, big breaths, and then slide down the wall until you feel your thigh muscles respond. They will begin to become tight. Your goal is to have the thigh muscles parallel to the floor, but don’t despair if you can only make it half way. Hold this position for a count of 5 and then stand back up.

  • Second exercise is to turn around and place your finger tips as high on the wall  as you can reach flat footed. Raise up on your toes and count 5 again. You will do this exercise 5 times in a row. Remember to rest briefly between ex1 and ex2 and so on. Maybe rest as much as 20-30 seconds, or maybe enough time to get a drink of water.
  • Third exercise is a repeat of ex1, but this time you will hold the position for a 10 count and then prepare to repeat ex2.
Ex2 is more even better is standing on something like a book

Extend the heels of the foot over the edge

Calve extensions.  Extend the heels over the edge if standing on something

The goal for these exercises is to get through 5 sets of them adding an extra 5 count to each of the positions for the first exercise. Don’t worry if you can’t hold the fourth and fifth set. After a couple sessions like this you will be able to increase your hold count. Don’t do these every day either. Do them every two or three days. You will notice the strength in your legs increasing almost immediately. After all the legs have the largest and strongest muscles in the human body. They respond to stimuli very quickly.

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