Indoor Walking Exercise Video

I’ve been using one of those fitness trackers in the form of a wrist band for a few weeks now. For the pedometer function, my target number of steps is now 15000.

Yesterday I was so busy that by around 9pm or so I was just too plain exhausted to go out for a quick walk. I needed just less than 3000 steps to hit the target, and in instances like these I normally just put on my running shoes for a quick jog or brisk walk.

Good ole’ Youtube comes to the rescue, as usual. I just thought I’d try my luck Googling ‘indoor walking youtube’, and this nice lady Jessica Smith’s indoor exercise routine above comes up. So cool I now have something to turn to on rainy days as well.

Her routine is so easy and pleasant to follow. I would recommend it to absolute beginners and also those who are too shy to exercise outside. There are options peppered at some parts to jazz it up to make it a bit harder, as well as guidance on how to make it easier on the joints, if that’s what you need instead.

And how adorable is that chill dog in the video. I think her name is Peanut.

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Blackie keeping me company while I exercise.

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Done for the day! Thank you, Ms. Jessica Smith!

By the way, this is the first time I’m doing a post on my tablet, which is such a slow and difficult pain in the ass especially attaching images, oh my God. So it’s probably the last time.

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Heel Pain

I’m starting to freak out now that it has dawned on me that the pain in the heel of my foot is just not going away. In late March (or April, I don’t quite remember) I went out for a jog for an hour, as I normally did about once to thrice a week. But this time I ended up with a very sore left foot the following day. I brushed it off. The pain gradually increased in the following week or so. I still wasn’t worried because it’s not uncommon for me to feel some pain or discomfort after running. I always just took it as my feet reacting to the strain, and it always went away after a few days max.

Now it’s been four months. The pain abates or returns with varying degrees. I didn’t really realise the length of time except for the occasional vague thought, “Shit, when is this pain finally going away? It’s been weeks.” The reason being that I was particularly busy with our projects at work, which required a lot of physical effort and me being on my feet, and walking briskly, so I just put up with the pain the best I could. After about a month of that, we moved house. About two weeks of stress and exhaustion in packing boxes and furniture and other stuff. Moving from one double-storey house to another means a lot of pounding the stairs to get many of those boxes and furniture from one floor to another. And after that it was immediately back to work again.

*

I know an injured joint/muscle needs to rest to heal properly, but I just coudn’t give it enough of that, even when I was limping and hobbling on some days. In addition, I’ve always been a fast walker (even when I don’t need to be somewhere quickly). When the pain is unbearable, of course I can’t walk quickly, but even when the pain has mostly subsided for a while, I find it’s such a strain to keep reminding myself to walk slowly so that the foot can properly heal.

It was only around last month when I was thinking of how much I miss jogging, that I was startled into realising that I haven’t jogged for three whole months. Started to be alarmed and wonder why the pain in my foot stubbornly won’t go away. Tried to make myself feel better by thinking, “Okay, I’ll just walk for exercise since that’s all I can do now. Let’s see what happens.” Of course the idiot that I am, I was soon brisk-walking because seeing all the joggers running past me made me jealous and miserable. I brisk-walked for almost an hour, and the next day, the sharp pain in the heel hurt like hell all over again.

I started searching online to learn more. As with other subjects, there is so much info online that one can become overwhelmed or confused, and spend way too much time reading. So I picked and chose randomly what to read/watch as I just don’t have the time to read endless articles.  I learnt the basics that the area that is causing the pain in my foot is called Plantar Fascia, and the condition is called Plantar Fasciitis. It’s an apparently common affliction even among experienced athletes. It was both comforting and depressing at the same time to learn that it is common to suffer for months from this condition, as I have been. What scares me most is that some people end up having it as a chronic ailment for years. I can’t bear the thought of going through it again even once more after I’ve recovered, let alone over and over again for life.

*

So no more marathons, even after I (hopefully) recover from this? My last one was back in 2012. I don’t want to be a pussy, but it’s such a massive pain in the ass (or heel, rather) that I would just be scared of getting this Plantar Fasciitis crap all over again. Because, oh my God, the pain when it comes…. and being out for months, without being able to jog, is just so… *sigh* … damn irritating and depressing, to be honest.

I can’t afford to see a podiatrist or whatever specialist, so I turned online to learn some stretches to help myself, including from the following video:

I also like the advice of the following doctor Gary Crowley who not only recommends some stretch exercise, but explains what each is for and how it may impact the treatment. He also reminds the viewer to note which works or doesn’t, as I suppose not all work for all bodies, so we have to learn for ourselves what specifically works for us.

I discovered his excellent website, Do-It-Yourself-Joint-Pain-Relief, some years ago while I was searching online to learn to cope with some lower back pain. I find his advice and instructions sensible and easy to follow. Of course, being me, I also have to mention the bonus that’s he’s goodlooking and pretty hot. Especially when he smiles.

Videos for Step 2 and Step 3 can be found on his Heel Pain Treatment‘ page.

Zheng Ge Ping 郑各评

Recently to boost my (rather too laid-back) quest to continue losing weight and be fit, I’ve started taking note of fit older guys around my age and older when I happen to see them in the news. I mean, no point looking at young fit guys in their twenties as that’s when most people tend to look their best. It’s when we’re older that it’s much tougher to maintain weight and fitness, so that’s when the bigger challenge comes in. And that’s why I find fit mature people so inspiring.

So far there have been Robbie Williams and Gordon Ramsay, and Jeff Probst, and I’m proud and happy to add a local name to the list. I first came to read about Zheng Ge Ping’s spectacular 49-year-old bod on Yahoo! Sports Singapore a few days ago in an article by Cheryl Tay.

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Zheng Ge Ping, via Yahoo! Sports Singapore. Click to go there.

Zheng Ge Ping 郑各评 is a Singaporean actor who does Mandarin television drama series. I must admit his name was not familiar to me, although his handsome face has always been instantly recognisable whenever I happened to see him on TV. When it comes to Chinese dramas I can name only a few whose work I have watched like Li Nanxing, Wang Yuqing, the late Huang Wenyong, and Zhu Houren. Basically guys I had crushes on in my youth, haha.

What’s impressive about Ge Ping is that, according to the Yahoo! article, he suffers from a permanent neck and back injury. Yet he still makes the time and effort to visit the gym regularly. He was at his heaviest when he was 40 in 2004, and decided to do something about it for the sake of his career. As he told Cheryl:

“It is a cruel industry in entertainment and as age catches up, you need to maintain well to keep up, especially when there are so many up and coming young actors.”

Ge Ping went on a zero-carb diet, and did a lot of callisthenics and running. At the time he succeeded in losing 14 kilos (31 lbs) in three months.

He has recently released a book called Star Fitness, which is about the training and diet regimes he used for weight loss and bodybuilding. In the interview, he acknowledged that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to fitness programs because every body responds differently, and that his book merely seeks to share what works for him and to help encourage readers to have a healthy lifestyle.

Star Fitness is available at all Popular bookshops and priced at $16.90. Graciously, Ge Ping will be donating his share of the book sales to charity.

Related:

Buff Dudes

I came across their YouTube channel courtesy of Gaybros.

Brandon and Hudson make up the Buff Dudes and their fitness channel features intense workouts, healthy recipes and a whole lot of fun and humour.

The post on Gaybros led to the biceps workout below. I wasn’t really paying attention to the workout itself. When I exercise, it’s very lightly as I’m not interested in building a muscular bod. I also prefer videos that actually play the entire workout so I can exercise right there and then along to the video (like those found on HASfit), as opposed to videos that just feature demonstrations for me to watch and learn, and then spend more time to do on my own.

However, host Brandon is such an arresting and droolsome sight that I watched the entire video. Not only is he very goodlooking, but he’s charismatic and funny and the video is not the typical fitness video but entertaining. I checked out their channel and found other humorous videos. So this is a good find and I’m looking forward to seeing more. Maybe I’ll even be motivated to actually try some of their workouts, hah.

Jeff Probst

I was just noting the other day how British singer Robbie Williams (aged 39) and British chef Gordon Ramsay (aged 46) look fantastic and in-shape, and now I’ve come across more pictures of more older men looking great.

Maybe it’s time to start a new category for hot older men who inspire me keep at it in getting in shape. A little (or a lot of) eye candy never hurt anyone. It just makes you go “ooh, yummy” but won’t give you Type 2 Diabetes, haha!

Here is a picture of Jeff Probst that is recently making the rounds in online media, and rightly so, because his physique is so impressive. The picture is from his guest appearance on the TV sitcom Two and a Half Men. I think a lot of people were surprised by how impressive. I know I am. I mean, he had always looked fit, but wow. And the guy is in his fifties already!

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Credit: CBS. Via sg.entertainment.yahoo.com. Click image to go there.

Jeff Probst, 52, is a host of various shows, but most famously that of Survivor, the reality game show that believe is or not is still going strong since May 2000, and is now into it’s 27th season.

He is also a minister, ordained by Universal Life Church Monastery (ULC) in 1999 and had remarried his parents for their 35th wedding anniversary. Reading about this church for the first time, I have discovered via their website, that they provide free online ordination to anyone, and have ordained more than 20 million people. Some of the many other celebrities they have ordained as ministers include actress Sharon Stone, knighted actor Sir Ian McKellen, ‘penectomy survivor’ John Wayne Bobbit, and musician Courtney Love. To say that’s interesting is a bit of an understatement.

I found another photo of Jeff Probst, featured below. I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. This one looks better to me than the waxed Ken doll look above, as impressive as the defined muscles are in that photo.

And fit bod aside, he sure has a gorgeous smile. Happy and full of life.

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From the tumblr site TheMoInMontrose. Click to go there.

And oh, I was wondering if I pronounce his name properly and wanted to check that, and came across this hilarious spoof of pronunciation videos.

Gordon Ramsay in IRONMAN championship

I was looking for a Gordon Ramsay recipe, broccoli soup, that I came across ages ago and wanted to make. I like it because it’s very delicious and even looks kinda fancy, yet it’s strikingly simple to make. Basically a boil-and-blend thing, haha.

But I came across some photos of him doing an IRONMAN World Championship Triathlon in Hawaii last month. I got engrossed looking at the photos and reading about his feat, including the Daily Mail which also reported that he had slimmed down from 100kg to 86kg.

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Photo of Gordon Ramsay posted on his Twitter on 9th October, a few days before the race. Click to go to source.

An Ironman consists of a 3.8km swim, then a 180km bike ride, then an entire marathon distance to cover on foot, which is 42km. The event began around 7 a.m, and participants are required to end by midnight in order to log an “official” time. Gordon took 14 hours.

According to the latimes.com,

Ramsay was never in any danger of missing the cutoff. He finished the swim in 1:20:21 and the bike ride in 6:35:54.

…and finished the marathon in just under six hours, giving him an overall finish time of 14:04:48, according to the race website’s athlete tracker.

I’m so very impressed. How impressed? Well, the few marathons I ‘ran’ (I never ran. I jogged and walked) the best I could manage to finish was in 6 hours and 2 minutes. Gordon, who at 46 is six years older than me, is so fit he managed the marathon in under 6 hours, and this is after swimming 3.8km and cycling 180km.

This is so inspiring to me.

Oh by the way, this is the recipe I was looking for.

Robbie Williams

Saw this photo of the British singer and former boybander Robbie Williams a while back on tumblr, and whoa, he’s looking good! He’s thirty-nine now. If I’m not mistaken, he’s had his ups and downs over the years when it comes to his weight. And now he looks like this. Very inspiring.

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Image seen at underhell.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

The following is how he looked like as a younger chap around when he was with the massively popular Take That, the ‘it’ boyband back in the early 90s.

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From takethatlove.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

Cute as a button!

Although I’ve never been into cute. Have always been into older men instead. When I was a youngster I would wonder occasionally if my taste would slowly ‘evolve’ as I get older. That maybe as I get older, who knows, the age group of my taste would go in the opposite direction and I’d eventually find younger men more attractive. That would be funny. But my appreciation for men physically still hovers around the middle age and above range. It’s quite interesting when you think about it, how different people have different specific tastes. I guess a whole myriad of things could go into the pot in terms of influence, including our life experiences.

So, anyway, I guess Robbie was cute back then, but now at 39 he’s like freakin’ gorgeous. What a beautiful man.

I wasn’t into Take That at all, so I don’t know any of their music, but I remember they were very successful. The wonderful thing is that Robbie found even greater commercial success as a solo artist. Since 1996 he has released a lot of great pop songs that were huge hits. I like too many to list here but one of my favourites is No Regrets. And of course Feel. And another one is Come Undone:

Another thing I like about him is his fun persona, as someone cheeky and goofy, which is displayed in some humorous songs and videos, including Rock DJ and Candy:

Robbie is set to release his new album Swings Both Ways (oh don’t tease you handsome devil) later this month on the 18th. This is his second big band album, twelve years after his first one.

From calif3vermusic.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

Related:

Fundraising event: Let’s Take A Walk 2013

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Click poster to go to http://www.letstakeawalk.sg

I just came to know upon logging into this blog this evening, of an event called Let’s Take A Walk (LTAW), via an invitation by the organizing team chaired by a Mr. Tiong Hock.

Important details such as categories available and the website to visit for registration are listed in the poster above. In any case, click it to get to the website where comprehensive information is made available, including a FAQ page.

Some points of interest:

  • Cause: LTAW is a purely a non-profit and volunteer-driven event. Click here to learn more about it and about its beneficiaries this year, which are Melrose Home by Children’s Aid Society, and the organizer Raleigh Society, which holds local and overseas community projects to develop youths through adventure-based activities.
  • History: This will be the eigth instalment of the event. The first was held in 1997. More details here.
  • Training Walks: The organizing committee will be holding  a series of progressive training walks and walking clinics for participants to effectively prepare for the walk. The dates for this are to be announced and will be listed here at this link.
  • Registration closes on: 15 November.

The haze

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Photo taken in Bedok area ten minutes before the PSI read 360 at 1pm on Friday, 21 June.
Taken by Wikipedia user ‘Wolcott’. Click to go to source.

Today at 4pm the PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) has dipped down past below 100, providing a respite that began yesterday afternoon. I hope it lasts. I hate wearing that mask thing. It’s uncomfortable, inconvenient and I look ridiculous. So this past week when the haze had hit us, I resisted when I left the house for work, but each time within a minute of that awful burning smell, I would be resigned to having to put it on. There’s always one in my bag now. Plus Strepsils for my throat.

I would hate to fall sick now, more than at any other time. I’m going up to Kuala Lumpur next weekend to participate in the marathon. The registration was months ago and the preparation for the trip was set up weeks ago. To be honest, between work and other commitments, my training for the marathon has long been largely neglected, so I’m going in with an ‘oh whatever, just do the best you can again‘ attitude. This will be my fourth one, and to be honest I’m a bit jaded and bored with it. This will probably be my last full marathon. But just two weeks ago there was that bad cold that meant I didn’t exercise at all for over a week, and now here was another week I couldn’t jog outside. Thank goodness for the free workout videos at HASfit.com which allows me to continue exercising at home so at least I’m doing something.

Bert is also doing his first event ever, the 10K. Back in February when I registered, I suggested he register for the 10K instead of being there as just my supporter again, and to my surprise he agreed. He started brisk walking, about 3 times a week, training seriously. Often our walks go over 10K. I’m still surprised by this and regret I didn’t make the suggestion sooner. I’m so happy and excited for him.

So if we fall sick now I’m going to be really mad. Just as mad, or more mad than if the haze hit KL too and causes the event to be cancelled or postponed. I hope that won’t happen but I just need to bear that in mind so I won’t be totally crushed if that really happens.

Ugh, I can be such a brat. Who cares about lil ole’ me when there are so many other people who would be affected more gravely. Hardcore marathoners who take it more seriously. Foreign participants who will be flying in for the event (We’re just travelling cheaply on a coach bus for a few hours). The hundreds of kids and adults who volunteer, giving so much of their time and effort to prepare for the event.

(Update Thursday 27 June, 12:30pm: The KL Marathon is indeed postponed, to 29 September. Me and Bert are still going up to KL. We can’t change travel plans now, and will try to make the best of the trip with indoor sights if the air will really be that bad.)

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Well I discovered that I should be grateful I have masks in the first place because apparently not everyone managed to get some for their own use. I was shocked when I read that. It all seemed impossible and alarming that this could happen in my country, but apparently it was out of stock at the pharmacies. How on earth could that have happened, when the haze is an annual affair. It’s not new. This is not the first time. What about the workers who continue to work outdoors? What if conditions worsen even more than the previous high of PSI 400? Then there were the disappointing stories of jacked up prices of these masks. How totally f**ked up, really. Hopefully the efforts to ensure supply of N95 masks will work and people actually get their hands on them, and at a controlled price.

Our own supply is actually leftover from last year’s haze. Or the years before, I forget. Bert’s darling family in Rome got all anxious about haze reports, bought a box from a pharmacy there, and air-mailed it over. Quite fancy-looking ones compared to the ones we have seen on other people. We had laughed and thought ‘how sweet, but wow, over-dramatic‘, and ended up using them and giving some away when work projects took us working at construction sites. Well this week, I’m so glad for over-dramatic Italian family members. The masks gave some needed and appreciated relief, when we wore them during a haze for the first time.

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Masks by 3M. That’s my sweet Blackie on the left. He likes to stay close to me when I’m at my desk. (so he can get his slave to stroke him and scratch his back for him. He knows I quickly give in to his demands because he knows I find his meowing very high-pitched and annoying.)

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It’s still hard to feel sorry for ourselves, masks or not. Many more people in Sumatra, where the forest fires come from, have suffered for years and I suspect so much more seriously. The fires are right in their backyard. We get the haze this time of the year due to wind conditions, for days or weeks, which is terrible enough. What about them, how many months a year? Like us, their lives need to go on, bills need to be paid, mouths need to be fed. But of course life is much harder and cruel for them, forest fires or not. If we in the so-called first world feel frustrated because we feel our voices are not heard, I imagine all they can feel is resignation because of the level of corruption and inaction they may have to put up with. From Wikipedia:

While much of the press has focused on the haze’s impact in Singapore and Malaysia, the local residents of Riau are feeling the greater heat. Residents have fled their homes in Bengkalis, with about 30% experiencing respiratory problems. The fires have burned through hectares of local farmland, decimating this season’s crops.The PSI in Dumai has also hit 492 on Friday morning. However, due to the wind patterns, most of the rest of Indonesia has not been hit by the haze.

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‘Motorists in Pekanbaru city, Sumatra. Forest fires in Sumatra have triggered an environmental crisis in Singapore.’
Image by: AFP. From gulfnews.com. Click to go there.

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‘A mother gives a drink to her son as she prepares to leave her house with her children after a forest fire spread close to their home near Dumai, as haze covers Indonesia’s Riau province June 20, 2013.’
Image by: REUTERS/Beawiharta. From finance.yahoo.com. Click to go there.

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A casualty of the Sumatran forest fires. (Photo from 2012). From Facebook of Radio 91.3. Click to go there.

I read a letter posted online where the writer shares how he and his family have decided to boycott Indonesian goods, and boycott Indonesia as a holiday destination. I do not agree with that.

What I would boycott are products that contain palm oil, from wherever in the world these products are from. I understand this is not easy, as palm oil is an ingredient very commonly found in not only many food products but even toiletries. But nothing good comes easy. When we choose to care about something or even someone, whether it’s a lover or our weight (haha), an environmental issue, etc, we’re never in for an easy time, are we. We just sigh and put up with any inconvenience and the challenges and patiently put in the time and effort; we just do it anyway. Even if I cannot totally eliminate palm oil from my life, some effort is better than nothing. I have to read up much more and educate myself on this issue, and see what I can personally do.

Ability to sit and rise from the floor, with or without assistance from hands and knees.

One thing that struck me as I was doing the HASfit exercise videos is how, in many of the videos, there is much of getting down on the floor and then getting back up on my feet again, over and over. I think that adds substantially to the workout.

Recently it also makes me think of a particular study I came across months ago. I’ve been meaning to note it down here.

The study is of this test called the Sitting-Rising Test. The study author is Dr. Claudio Gil Soares de Araújo, Ph.D., a professor at Gama Filho University in Rio de Janeiro. It was in the news recently around the beginning of the year with many articles published about it. The ones I read included Men’s Health News and Mail Online. All the articles echo the spectacular idea that the test may predict how long you’re going to live.

I’m not interested in that part, but more in that the test could help gauge stuff like muscular strength, flexibility and balance. It never occured to me that such a basic motion (sitting down on the floor and getting back up again) could turn out to be so fascinatingly revealing.

Here’s a video explaining the Sitting-Rising Test. It’s in Portuguese if I’m not mistaken, but in any case there are clear English subtitles.

My favourite article covering the test is from Dr. Mercola. I love how clear and concise it is. It even comes with a helpful summary section called ‘Story-at-a-glance‘, which sums up the article like this:

  • How well you can sit and rise from the floor, without using assistance from your hands, knees or other body parts, may predict your risk of dying prematurely in the next six years.
  • Those who scored the lowest, requiring the most assistance to sit and rise from the floor, were 6.5 times more likely to die during the study period than those who scored the highest.
  • The “sitting-rising test” measures your fitness at the most basic level, testing not only muscular strength but also flexibility, balance and motor coordination. All of these attributes are essential for day-to-day living, and for maintaining your independence as you age.
  • You can extend not only the quantity of your years, but also the quality, by making a few simple changes to your lifestyle, involving diet, exercise, stress reduction and more.

That’s the summary, but the article is worth reading in its entirety. It’s not very long at all and is jam-packed with a lot of interesting information. It is features a 2-minute video of a suggested yoga-esque exercise called ‘The Founder‘ by chiropractor Eric Goodman, which I’ve tried and like.

Surprisingly though, no mention of yoga which I thought would be an obvious tip to help improve performance of the test. There’s a quick mention but related to stress reduction. I thought practising yoga would be more prominently advised as I would think it’s the activity to engage in to make you super flexible and limber and then some.

Then I got to thinking about:

THE SIT-AND-RISE ACTIVITIES I DO IN MY DAILY LIFE

  • Certainly not at meal times

That’s the first thing that crossed my mind. For us Malays, it was so common to eat on the floor, just like for many other cultures around the world. But that was perhaps decades ago. It was more common to have our meals at home sitting cross-legged on a mat on the floor, which by the way, we can do because we don’t wear shoes or other footwear inside the house. But today we eat like that only for certain big gatherings.

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Image for illustrative purpose, from arabswagger.tumblr.com. Click to go there.

When it’s just us or our families, I think it’s far more common to eat at the dining table. Speaking for myself only, I can’t help but think this contributes to me being less flexible. I’m ‘too used to sitting on a chair’ and I can’t sit cross-legged on the floor for long now. It gets uncomfortable or downright painful after about 20 minutes or so. And I’m aware that being on the stocky side also adds to the discomfort, haha…

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Johnny Cash putting me to shame! And he wasn’t even Malay!
(this cute pic of a young Johnny Cash eating cake from vortexanomaly.tumblr.com. Click image to go to source.)

  • 1. Prayer

There are positions us Muslims do as part of our daily prayer that have us bend and kneel and get down on the floor and back up again, several times. Of course when I pray it’s for Allah s.w.t. and for no other reason or purpose but for Him only. It’s nice though thinking of the added health benefit.

Digressing a bit, this also reminds me of a conversation I had with my late Mum many years ago.  Some time after having practically moved out to live with my partner, I was for some reason casually relating to her that I don’t like to sit on the floor, that I can’t seem to do it for long as it soon becomes uncomfortable. And she responded by muttering angrily at me, “That’s because you don’t pray! It shows you haven’t been praying! You haven’t been praying, right?! You haven’t been praying, right?!”. I was stunned, and could only look guilty and think to myself, “oh shit, she caught me.”, haha.

  • 2. Reading the holy Qur’an.

It’s a habit to read some verses every Thursday evening. I don’t proclaim to be such a good boy that I do it every single Thursday without fail. But when I do, the reading is done sitting cross-legged on a mat on the floor. It takes me about 20 minutes each time, and yup that’s about the only time I can bear to sit cross-legged. Afterwards I have to slowly stretch out my legs again and it takes some time before I can stand up properly. Goodness, I’m still really out of shape!

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I’m sentimental for ‘world peace’ themed photos like this. It’s just so darn sweet. *sniff*
(Image from blackvintagebarbie.tumblr.com, first seen via lovepeaceislam.tumblr.com. Click to go to source.)

  • 3. And now, all the way from Texas of the U.S.A., HASfit exercise videos as well! Yay!

The following is an example of the free videos offered by them with a routine that includes making me get down on the floor, then back up again, over and over and over again. This is a 26-minute workout that, as the title suggests, does not need any equipment whatsoever, not even dumbbells. It’s doable, but tough. I was already panting noisily by the halfway point when I did the workout yesterday.