Fitness science confirms the benefits of regular aerobic exercise, but it's far from a new idea. The 2,000-year-old Chinese health regimen called Qigong, for example, includes an aerobic component in which you bounce and shake your body. The bounce and shake exercise also has modern proponents, including John Gray, Ph.D., author of the “Mars and Venus” book series, who claims that the activity speeds up your metabolism, improves your brain chemistry and helps your lymphatic system flush toxins from your body. Whether your inspiration comes from ancient wisdom or contemporary culture, you can bounce and shake your way to better fitness.
Stand with your heels together and your toes pointed about 45 degrees to the sides.
Hold your hands palms-up in front of your abdomen, then inhale, bend your knees and raise your hands straight up in front of your chest.
Turn your hands palms-down and push your arms straight down. Simultaneously straighten your legs and rise onto the balls of your feet. Hold the position for three seconds, then let your heels drop naturally and bounce on the floor to complete one repetition.
Complete a total of seven reps, then shake your body while your feet remain on the floor by springing up and down at the knees while simultaneously raising and lowering your arms eight times.
"Mars and Venus" Method
Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, your knees flexed and your arms hanging naturally at your sides to perform Gray’s version of the bounce and shake. Keep your feet flat on the floor throughout the exercise.
Bounce your body lightly by nodding your head slightly and bending and unbending your knees to raise and lower your torso and thighs. Let your arms move naturally, but shake your hands a bit.
Inhale and exhale through your nose for the first two minutes of your bounce-and-shake routine, then inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth during the final one to three minutes. During the second minute, make a snorting sound at the base of your throat when you inhale. This method helps fill your lungs with air.
Stop moving after three to five minutes, and return to the starting position. Stand still for one minute. Perform the exercise once at the beginning and once at the end of an overall "Mars and Venus" workout. Alternatively, perform the exercise as a stand-alone activity whenever you wish. For example, you can do the bounce and shake early in the morning to kick-start your metabolism. If your job keeps you sedentary, perform the exercise for a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break, to re-energize you throughout the day.
Perform a more active version of the exercise by adding more arm movements. Raise your hands above your head and gently shake your arms. Bend forward from the waist and shake your arms between your legs, then lift or twist your torso and shake your arms at your sides. Do the less intense bounce and shake first, as a warm-up, before moving on to the more active version.
- Perform your own variation of the bounce and shake by flexing your knees and ankles to bounce yourself up and down -- while keeping at least the balls of your feet on the floor -- then shaking your body any way you wish. Begin with slower movements and work your way up to more intense movements if you wish.
- Talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise regime, particularly if you've been sedentary or have any health conditions.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.