The last 2 days we’ve been discovering and exploring our “core”! Here are a few more ways to strengthen your core. You might be surprised by a few of them! (Laura Galey is a contributor to this blog post.)
1. Side to side rotation exercises
This can be done standing, lying, or sitting so it is a versatile option. Basically your torso is slowly rotating from side to side exercising the obliques and stomach muscles, but also the muscles of your back.
2. The quadruped
This works many of the core muscles and resembles a baby crawling if you imagine really hard. You might even find yourself moving along the floor as you complete this workout. Basically,
- Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands directly below your shoulders, and align your head and neck with your back. Tighten your abdominal muscles.
- Raise your right arm off the floor and reach ahead. Hold for three deep breaths. Lower your right arm and repeat with your left arm.
- Raise your right leg off the floor. Tighten your trunk muscles for balance. Hold for three deep breaths. Lower your right leg and repeat with your left leg.
- For added challenge, raise your left arm and your right leg at the same time. Repeat with your right arm and left leg.
3. The Superman and Swimmer
A variation of this exercise can be done lying face down on the floor on your stomach. It is sometimes referred to as the “Superman” or “swim”. You alternate lifting your opposite arm and leg, stretching out diagonally. Then go back to resting position and do the other side. Hold for a count of 30-40 seconds each side. Watch the video and follow along!
4. Workouts can be simple and infused into every day activities as well. Here are a few ideas:
- If you have an exercise ball, try using it instead of a chair when you are doing paperwork, reading a book, or working on the computer. The muscle used to stabilize yourself on the ball all help to strengthen your core.
- Instead of walking from one place to another around the house, try marching with knees up each step. It may look a little weird to observers, but pretty soon you will be marching to your own tune.
- The balance exercise called the airplane is also good for stability and building core muscles. Pretend you are an airplane with arms extended for balance standing on one leg. Hold as long as you can and then practice on the other side. Try to keep head aligned with your body parallel to the floor all the way down to your toes.
The beauty of these workouts is that you don’t need special equipment to work the core muscles. For all parts of your body to work in harmony, maintain balance, and stability, core muscle workouts are imperative for best over-all health and fitness.
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