Tag: Health

Hi 5

I didn’t realize it has been 5 years since I started to train at Prime. As cliche as it is, time does fly. It feels like yesterday when I read an article about Prime on the website of Shanghai Family, I made a mental note that it might just be the thing for me, as I never felt comfortable in big box gym. Five years on, many things in my life have changed, I am still training at Prime Fenyang, with Frank, just like the very first session.

It was on a workday afternoon, between meetings I wanted something to take my mind off. Prime Fenyang was just 10-minute walk away from my office. Min greeted me with her signature smile behind the counter, before sent me off to Frank. In hindsight it was probably the gentlest session over the years, but that’s definitely not how I felt back then. After few questions Frank put me to work, first several exercises to test my fitness level, followed by moves with intensity I instantly regretted for not holding back few minutes earlier. For the first time that 30-minute seemed long, very long… The walk back to office took me twice the time. I was exhausted.

It is still unclear to me why exactly I went back to Prime for more “torture”, it might be the imminent arrival of summer, or the aspiration to have Gwyneth Paltrow’s abs. After a couple of months I could see the shape of muscles around my shoulders and back, there’s nothing more motivating. Frank soon discovered I am not a fan of routine exercises, I got bored easily, so he suggested me to give boxing a try. Boxing wasn’t as “fashionable” as it is nowadays, nevertheless, I thought it’s no harm to try. Today I’m on my second pair of gloves and constantly thinking how I can move faster…

What I learnt from Prime is not only just how to throw punches, over the years I realized a couple of things would be applicable to life too:

1. It’s all about priority. You can always find time to exercise, the question is how much you want it. If you feel other things are more important, then you will never find time for it. During my travels I saw dads fast walking with babies on the back and dogs on leash. If you still haven’t finished new year resolutions from years go, you are not as resolute as you thought, because if you really want it, you will find a way.

2. It’s all about efficiency. Before Prime, I was under the impression that you have to live in a gym to look like Madonna or Kate Hudson, but Prime’s 30-minute gig was just as effective as pouring hours in a training facility if not more effective, unless you really know what you are doing. Time is not the only criteria for value, think right process for desired results.

3. It’s all about expertise. This is self-explanatory, without expertise, the 30-min session would be a waste of time, space, and effort. It worked because of the know-how. In addition, for a fitness studio, knowing how to teach is just as important as knowing how to train. I wouldn’t still be here if I didn’t find Frank’s advices useful and executable. Therefore, do not be afraid of asking for help when it’s not your main field (or even if it’s your main field), you don’t have to invest valuable time in reinventing the wheels, with the wheels perfected by the experts, you could go much further in less the time.

It’s hard to pin down my proudest achievement with Prime, I was pleased to win the monthly challenge this March, but whenever my body enabled me to take full advantage of what life has on offer I feel pretty good about it too, be it an arduous mountain hike, a complicated task requires focus and concentration, or simply being less accident prone – because of improved coordination and agility.

For people like me suffer from serious commitment issues, it’s almost out of my depth to think about fitness goal for the next 5 years, but I’d be very happy if I keep the same form and endurance level as I have today.

Thank you Prime for this opportunity to reflect, I had 5 great years, not only I got stronger and faster physically, but also with a healthier mind by witnessing growth of the others – Min is now a popular trainer, and Frank has become a Master Trainer for a while. I am inspired by their achievement, seeing them growing and developing reminds me all efforts will for sure pay off.

Happy anniversary Prime, looking forward to another great 5 years.

The Mystery of Walking Backwards and Ear Flicking

April is probably the best time of the year in Shanghai, sun shines in blue sky, birds chirping behind leafy trees, flowers blossoming, wind blows gently, and fashionable girls and boys can’t wait to take off the heavy winter coats to show off the well toned limbs. In the mornings and evenings, parks transformed into centres of recreational activities, taichi, sword dance, line dance, and percussion drums, just to name a few. You’d see people jogging, walking, and practicing peking operas. Everyone minds his own business in any way he likes as if there’s no one watching. It could be noisy at times when all the activities take place at the same time with different background music, but it’s the best noise for me in the world, the sound of spring, the sound of life, the sound of enjoying life. It is the time of the year I spend more hours sitting on a cool park bench than my big leather office chair, I let my eyes stray and my mind wander.

I don’t know if you have seen people walking backwards in parks, and/or flicking ears in public anywhere else in the world, I haven’t. I asked my well travelled colleagues, they consider these can be well categorized as the few “Only-in-China Phenomena”, and “weird”.

Confucius once said he would have no regret to die in the evening if he had learnt the truth in the morning. Although I don’t want to die yet, it will certainly make the bench sitting days worthwhile if I could take a stab at unveiling the mystery.

They say sharing is caring, here’s what I found.

Walking Backwards – First of all, it has nothing to do with superstitions, in contrary, it is a recommended exercise for the elderly and the adolescents, provided doing it right – no bending knees, walk backwards steady and slowly, fingers closed, arms moving forward and backward gently, keep back straight and breath rhythmically.

The benefits of walking backwards are: strengthen spine and muscles on the lower back, good for “chi” and blood circulations on the back, relieve fatigue and pain in the area, especially for the seniors who suffer from the chronic pain of lower back.

The theory is: when moving backwards, different muscles and tendons on the lower back, around knees and ankles are used than walking forward, and extra pressure will apply while keeping legs straight, hence the foresaid would be strengthened and reinforced. Also it requires more balancing technique when step backwards, it stimulates cerebellum as well.

I am no physiotherapist so I am not going to bore you with technical details. I promise this is no prank, so you should be able to feel the difference if you stand up and experiment yourself (ok, maybe not the cerebellum as that’s hard to measure, but you will definitely fall if not focused).

For the adolescents, walking backwards is in a similar vein as walking with a book above one’s head – to prevent bad postures.

Walking backwards is a gentle workout, as a result it is recommended to those who are not suitable for strenuous exercises.

Ear Flicking – as weird as it sounds, ear flicking is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has a history of more than two thousand years. According to TCM, ears are miniatures of a human body, and the acupoints on ears reflect status of various organs, therefore stimulating the pressure points would help to restore the strength of body parts. It is said about over 190 chronic illnesses range from internal to dermatology can be treated through massaging, acupuncturing, pressing, and other ways of sensitizing the ear acupoints. Yes, exactly the same concept of foot reflexology.

Speak of that, I reckon my effort just earned me a pampering foot massage on this beautiful Friday evening. Bye for now dear readers, wish you all a happy weekend!

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