13 February 2011

J.P. Muller's System

I have always wanted to keep going with an exercise regimen, but my motivation usually runs out pretty shortly. To cut to the chase: it takes too long and is usually boring.

I did run regularly for almost six months last year, mostly because I had taken up running barefoot. I got unbelievably interesting calluses and the day-to-day kept my attention, since it was a challenge and I could listen to books on my iPod as I ran. But (a) this is impossible during the winter and (b) it still got old.

Despite this, I have lost some serious weight over the past year. This is the result of a pretty active lifestyle of regular walks and hikes, running around with children a great deal, and being a vegetarian. But how to keep it off, and get some tone?

But recently I read on Slate about a 1904 exercise regimen that Kafka and many others used to follow religiously every morning. It's a series of odd-looking bends and jumping techniques, mostly concentrating on strengthening the "core" muscles of back and stomach. The article includes a video of a modern practitioner, a doctor who is seriously ripped despite being into his sixth decade:

Intrigued (and being a fan of Kafka) I decided that I would give it a start. And so I have: I began the first week today. It's very fast, very easy (of course it's only the first week), and it has an undeniable appeal of being weird.

The first week, as an example, consists of these exercises every day, in order:

  • Waist bends.
  • Arm circling.
  • Waist twisting.
  • Knee raises.
  • Waist twisting (sideways).
  • Push-ups against an object.

The exercise book is available online for free, along with attendant explanations and pictures. I have also found this summary helpful, since the booklet is a pain to navigate through sometimes.

We'll see how long I last!