Dealing with stress has become an everyday part of modern living, with information overload, long commutes and multiple deadlines — let alone finding time for family and yourself — now the norm.

It’s no wonder most people cringe at the thought of trying to squeeze exercise into their busy schedules. Yet there are simple movements you can do that actually increase your energy and vitality, take only a few minutes a day and don’t require a trip to the gym.

Building energy and vitality in your body is a lot like investing. Just like it takes money to make more money, it takes energy to make more energy.

Your body: A co-dependent system of systems

Zone Exercises part 1Your body is a co-dependent, linked system of systems. One system — circulatory, digestive, hormonal or musculoskeletal — cannot function in isolation. Plus, all of them are energy-dependent too.

However, just like the heating and air conditioning systems in your home, your internal systems consume energy and produce it. For example, when eating quality food, you spend energy to chew and digest it. Metabolized food molecules provide both chemical and electrical charges that help the body perform work, such as building hormones.

Expending energy to inhale brings air into your body. Your lungs take oxygen from the air you breathe and attach it to iron particles in your red blood cells to be delivered to all parts of your body by the circulatory system.

The oxygen in the air you breathe carries a very strong positive charge, acting like the positive pole of a magnet, while your tissues and the water in your body (about 75 percent of your body is water) work like the negative pole of a magnet.

Positive, negative energies

As you may remember from science classes, wherever you find a positive and negative pole, there’s energy and work potential. Breathing oxygen into the body creates energy or work potential. East Indian Yogis call this energy prana and masters of tai chi, qi gong and many martial arts call it qi or chi.

Much of the energy you produce by breathing and eating fuels your muscles so you can move, have fun and produce more energy. Unfortunately, many people only associate muscle work with fatigue or a loss of energy. This is a result of excessive use of the muscles and body systems that support activity, particularly when there is an imbalance between the amount of work or exercise relative to the amount of rest time.

Muscles help energize the body by producing electromagnetic energy and by acting as pumps to assist the action of the circulatory and digestive systems.

By exercising muscles in different regions, your body delivers beneficial energy to the hormonal and organ systems, as well as to tissues related to the spinal segments in that particular area.

There are six different areas of the body known as Zones. Those familiar with chakras will notice each Zone corresponds to different ones, as you’ll see in the table below.

Zone Exercises for Balancing Stress and Building Vitality Part 1In fact, this system is the foundation for yoga, tai chi and the Zone Exercises that will follow in Part 2.

Look for the final part of this short series next week that will show you how to do Zone Exercises correctly and some you can learn on your own.

Love and chi,