IU Health & Wellness
Research and insights from Indiana University
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2009
Qigong: 5 moves to improve your workday. Office work can involve a great deal of mental exercise while often providing a daily assault on health and wellness efforts. Qigong and ergonomic experts at Indiana University say incorporating slow-moving yet brief qigong moves throughout the workday can ease some of the aches and pains and energy-zapping practices common to sedentary desk jobs. "Qigong and tai chi have been recognized in China as low cost and effective wellness activities, which is one reason they are so popular and have been promoted as healthful since the '30s," said Charles Pearce, a martial arts instructor and researcher in the Ergonomics Laboratory in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Qigong movements promote improved posture and breathing, mindfulness and flexibility, and they can help combat fatigue brought on my staring too long at a computer screen. "You can take a deep breath, take a break and clear your mind. Just putting your arms above your head and stretching, you can feel energy going through your arms," said Chunyun Wang, a School of HPER qigong instructor who has taught the ancient Chinese exercise to employees in workplace wellness programs. The following moves can be performed without breaking a sweat and do not rely on special clothing or equipment.
To see a warm up and the five moves performed as one flowing sequence, view this video: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/asset/page/normal/6748.html.
Below are brief descriptions and video links for each move:
- Stretching the upper body: Lifting the hands over the head during the workday is good for circulation. When performing it, imagine pushing the palms up toward the sky while the feet and legs push down. View here: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/asset/page/normal/6756.html.
- Open and close the chest: The twisting in this movement is good for strengthening, flexibility and reducing tension and pain around the shoulders and neck. Arms should be raised to shoulder height. View here: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/asset/page/normal/6757.html.
- Look back to treat five strains and seven impairments: This helps loosen up the muscles in the arms and neck. As one twists the arms, beginning with the fingers, and opens the chest and shoulders, it is important to not arch the back. View here: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/asset/page/normal/6758.html.
- Forward bend: This move, which involves self massage, is calming and can help loosen hamstrings that can become tight from sitting. The head should be kept looking up. View here: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/asset/page/normal/6759.html.
- Crane posture: This movement can improve balance as well as lower body strength. On the second round, lift arms and legs higher. View here: http://newsinfo.iu.edu/asset/page/normal/6760.html.
Wang said the movements can be helpful if performed individually throughout the day or combined into a flowing sequence, which takes only a few minutes. She and Pearce said another simple move involves moving away from the computer, closing one's eyes and pushing the arms overhead while breathing deeply. This move can help with circulation. Looking away from the computer screen can help refresh eyes, which can become dry and fatigued without a break. They say incorporating any form of movement into the workday is helpful, such as moving the printer farther away so one must walk to it.
Rural Hoosiers' views on condom education in high school classrooms. Rural residents in Indiana voiced strong support for public high school instruction that not only discusses the role of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases but also how to use condoms correctly, according to a public opinion survey conducted by Indiana University researchers. "The key word is 'correct,'" said William L. Yarber, senior director of the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention at IU. "It's not just mentioning condoms; it's telling young people how to use them properly. Condoms are very effective at reducing the risk for STDs when used consistently and correctly, but our studies over the years have found that people often don't use condoms correctly." Public high schools in Indiana are encouraged to provide abstinence only sexual health information. Yarber said few schools discuss condom use and even fewer discuss the correct use of condoms. Support for classroom instruction about the correct way to use condoms differed little between rural and non-rural residents, according to the study. "Public opinion research is valuable," said Yarber, professor in the Department of Applied Health Science in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. "Public opinion is one factor considered when making policy, and we know public opinion can be very effective. This is one more piece of information that policymakers can use when considering policies regarding school health curriculums."
More about the study:
- The survey involved responses from 504 Indiana residents. It was conducted by the IU Center for Survey Research in October 2008.
- Almost seven out of 10 respondents said they supported classroom instruction in high schools on correct condom use.
- About seven in 10 respondents said they disagreed that promoting condom use was the same as promoting sex.
- Eighty percent also reported that teenagers who use condoms for AIDS/STD prevention are considered responsible.
- Ninety percent of respondents said that only medically accurate information about condoms should be presented.
The study was presented on April 18 at RCAP's national biennial conference in Bloomington, "HIV/STD Prevention in Rural Communities: Sharing Successful Strategies." The study was co-authored by Richard A. Crosby, University of Kentucky.