12 simple exercises for every day

During World War I, the U.S. military commissioned Walter Camp to develop a set of exercises to keep fit, and he proposed the “daily dozen”—short, regular workouts that keep the body healthy and agile, but not exhausting.

Camp came up with this complex in part because he found the existing calisthenics exercises too complicated and boring. Another reason was the already familiar idea that modern technology is taking away from people the health and agility that were characteristic of our distant ancestors.

After the war, this set of exercises spread throughout the world. Pamphlets describing the “daily dozen” sold in millions of copies, as did audiotapes with instructions. The Camp complex became known all over the world.

What is the “daily dozen”

This is a simple workout that should be done easily and with pleasure. It develops flexibility , improves posture, muscle coordination and a sense of balance.

Camp argued that exercise has a positive effect on the functioning of internal organs, in particular the intestines, and also pumps cognitive functions, improving brain function.

The “Daily Dozen” is suitable for any adult, but is especially useful for middle-aged people who notice some tightness in the body and sit most of the day.

Since the exercises do not cause fatigue and do not require a lot of time, Camp recommended doing them every day at least once, and ideally three times: in the morning, afternoon and evening.

Camp also advised supplementing your workouts with ten hours of outdoor exercise per week (a little less than an hour and a half per day) to maintain health and longevity.

What exercises are included in the “daily dozen”

1. Hand circles

Photo: Lifehacker

Develops the muscles of the shoulders, back and chest, improves posture .

  • Stand straight, raise straight arms to the sides at shoulder level, palms facing up.
  • Slowly describe small circles with a diameter of about 15 centimeters with your hands. Most of the movement comes from the shoulders, the tension is felt in their back.
  • Perform five circles forward and five back.

2. Tilts with hands behind the head

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Stretches the abdominal muscles, strengthens the back, improves posture.

  • Stand up straight, put your hands behind your head.
  • With an exhalation, tilt the body forward to 45 degrees, the neck is in line with the back, look at the floor in front of you.
  • With an inhale, straighten up, raise your head.
  • Bend back slightly to feel the stretch in your abdominal muscles. The gaze is directed to the ceiling.
  • Straighten up. The head stays up.
  • Repeat 10 times.

3. Lifting hands

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Develops shoulder strength, strengthens the arch of the foot.

  • Stand straight, raise straight arms to the sides at shoulder level, palms pointing down.
  • With an inhalation, rise on your toes, raise your arms up 45 degrees.
  • With an exhalation, stand on the foot entirely, lower your arms to parallel with the floor.
  • Repeat 10 times.

4. Deep tilt to the side

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Develops the muscles of the shoulders and waist, stimulates the liver and intestines.

  • Stand up straight, raise your arms to the sides at shoulder level, palms down – this is the starting position.
  • Raise your left hand up, lower your right hand down along the body.
  • Start tilting to the right from the hips, the right hand crawls along the leg to the knee, the left twists around the head. At the extreme point, the left palm rests on or near the right ear.
  • Slowly straighten up, turning your arms to the starting position.
  • Make a similar tilt to the other side.
  • Repeat 10 times.

5. Twisting

Raises and expands the chest. Stretches the abdominal muscles.

  • Stand up straight, with an inhalation, bend your elbows, place your fists under your armpits.
  • Continuing to inhale, take your shoulders back, slightly bend in the thoracic region, expanding the chest, raise your head up and look at the ceiling.
Photo: Lifefaker
  • With an exhalation, move your hands forward, then spread them apart.
  • While holding your breath, lean forward until parallel with the floor, take your hands back.
Photo: Lifehacker
  • Straighten up and move your arms forward, and then spread them apart.
  • Repeat 10 times.

6. Toe squat

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Strengthens the arch of the foot, calf and back muscles.

  • Stand straight, feet shoulder-width apart, raise your arms to the sides at shoulder level, turn your palms down.
  • Inhale as you rise up on your toes.
  • Continuing to inhale, lower yourself into a squat .
  • As you exhale, rise from the squat.
  • Continuing to exhale, lower yourself to a full foot.
  • Repeat five times.

7. Shoulder rotation

Photo: Lifehacker

Strengthens the muscles of the shoulders.

  • Stand up straight, with an inhalation, raise your shoulders.
  • As you continue to inhale, move your shoulders forward.
  • Exhale as you lower your shoulders.
  • As you continue to exhale, pull your shoulders back.
  • Repeat ten times.

8. Reversal of hands

Develops the muscles of the shoulders and chest.

  • Stand up straight, arms crossed in front with palms facing you.
  • Raise your arms in a circle crosswise (the right palm outlines a circle on the left side, the left palm on the right side), at the top, turn your palms outward.
Photo: Lifehacker
  • Lower your arms in a circle without crossing them (the right palm draws a circle on the right, and the left palm on the left).
Photo: Lifehacker
  • Repeat five times.
  • Lower your arms, don’t cross them. The palms are next to the hips.
  • In a circle, raise your arms up, turning your palms outward.
  • Lower your arms crosswise, turning your palms towards you.
  • Repeat five times.

9. Head tilts

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Strengthens the muscles of the neck , improves control over them.

  • Stand up straight, tilt your head forward.
  • Tilt your head to the left.
  • Tilt your head back.
  • Tilt your head to the right.
  • Repeat five times.

10. Mill

Photo: Lifehacker

Develops the flexibility of the back muscles.

  • Stand straight, feet shoulder-width apart, straight arms raise to the sides at shoulder level.
  • Bend over, turning your body to the left and bending your right knee. The right hand touches the floor between the legs, the left is extended upward. The head is turned to the ceiling, the gaze is directed to the left hand.
  • Return to starting position and repeat on the other side.
  • Perform five times on each side.

11. Body slopes

Photo: Lifehacker

Strengthens the back muscles, opens the chest and stretches the abdominal muscles.

  • Stand straight, raise your hands above your head and interlace your fingers into the lock, turning your palms to your head. The closer the hands are to the head, the more effective the exercise.
  • Lean forward gently. The movement is controlled, without jerks and extreme inclinations.
  • Lean to the right.
  • Lean back.
  • Lean to the left.
  • Do five repetitions in each direction.

12. “Wings”

Photo: Lifehacker

Strengthens the muscles of the back and shoulders, develops the diaphragm.

  • Stand straight, feet together, toes slightly turned outward, arms hanging freely along the body.
  • As you inhale, raise your straight arms in front of you.
  • As you inhale, extend your arms out to the sides.
  • As you finish inhaling, raise your arms above your head, palms facing forward.
  • As you exhale, bend over, put your hands behind your back and lift. The head is raised, the gaze is directed forward.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the exercise nine more times.

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