Exercise To Heal: Stand Up and Stretch

Karen Holden
Year Released: 2010

Categories: Athletic Stretch , Seniors/Seated

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This DVD presents a 35-minute flexibility routine which incorporates some gentle balance work.

The workout is led by Karen Holden. Karen is the mother of Lee Holden, who leads a popular series of Qi Gong DVDs under his Exercise To Heal brand, and she appears with Lee in his Qi Gong For Seniors. Stand Up & Stretch is part of Karenís own Age-Defying Workout Series, a 4-DVD set aimed at older beginning exercisers.

The setting for Stand Up & Stretch is gorgeous Ė Karen demonstrates the routine on a platform set in the middle of a koi pond. The soundtrack is New Age-y, similar to other Exercise To Heal productions Ė very peaceful and soothing. Karen instructs in voiceover (her voice is somewhat raspy but not unpleasant to listen to) and she mirror-cues.

Note that this is a mostly standing routine (the last five minutes are done seated in a chair). Karen features floor stretches in a separate DVD. Exercisers are encouraged to keep a chair nearby during the standing work if they need it for balance, or if they might become light-headed during some of the moves. Karen does the routine barefoot.

The DVD is chaptered simply: Introduction, Routine and Product Previews. In the Introduction Karen explains the benefits of stretching and offers workout guidelines. Product Previews are clips of other Exercise To Heal DVDs by Karen and Lee.

The Stand Up & Stretch routine incorporates both static and dynamic (range of motion) stretches, sometimes adding in optional balance challenges. They are mostly straightforward athletic style (but done mindfully), with a few yoga and Qi Gong touches. We begin with centering breaths and a torso twist. Foot articulation, knee lifts (optional lift foot off ground), straight leg lifts to the front then side, leg swings, and gentle lunges follow. From there Karen goes through a series of forward bends followed by neck stretches (which felt lovely!). The standing portion finishes with several upper back stretches (including Eagle pose). The routine concludes with a seated hip stretch and a few minutes of meditation. The routineís pace is deliberate and Karenís instruction very clear and encouraging.

Bottom Line: Stand Up & Stretch is a well-presented, safe, simple stretch routine designed primarily for seniors (who will likely appreciate that it is presented by someone from their own age group). It would also be appropriate for anyone very new to exercise, who has significant physical limitations, or who is recovering from serious illness or injury. Otherwise, as nice as it is, I donít think Stand Up & Stretch provides quite enough challenge to benefit most regular exercisers.

Stand Up & Stretch is from Karenís Age-Defying Workout Series, geared towards senior exercisers. There are three other DVDs in the series: Get Stronger, Full Body Shape-Up, and a second stretching DVD featuring floor stretches.

All of Karenís DVDs are available at www.exercisetoheal.com (the same website as Leeís DVDs). At the website you can see a breakdown of the stretches presented and also a YouTube clip.

Instructor Comments:
Karen Holden is a certified yoga instructor. She is the mother of Lee Holden. Karen instructs clearly and presents in a pleasant, encouraging fashion that should appeal to the target audience of this DVD.