Core Exercise May Be the Very Best Move You Could Make
Does your daily workout give you new athletic power, more flexibility, strength and energy, and a slimmer waist with tighter abs?
Harvard Health says core exercise does all of that and more, making it the workout that you need to power every other workout you do.
The core muscles are the central link to the upper and lower body, and 20 to 40 minutes with simple equipment can power forward everything else you do.
Sports – golf, tennis, swimming and running will get a fresh boost. Family and household tasks that take lifting, lugging, cleaning and moving may seem easier. Wherever you bend, lift, twist or reach, new power comes from a stronger core.
Easy Core Exercises
Plan to do 20 to 40 minutes a day of the classic core moves that work for you - planks, squats and lunges – making sure you work all of the core muscles. Try these from RealSimple and Dr. Weil:
Knee Fold Tuck – Sit with hands on floor, squeeze a playground ball between knees and lift so shins are parallel to floor. Extend arms. Pull knees toward shoulders keeping upper body still. Lower knees. Repeat 15 -20 times.
Climbing Rope – Sit with legs extended, feet turned out in a V, toes pointed. Contract core muscles and roll spine into a C-curve. Lift arms and move upward as if climbing a rope. Turn slightly with each reach. Do 20 reaches with each arm.
Bridge Pose – Lie on floor with knees bent, feet flat hip width apart, arms at sides, palms on floor. Exhale and slowly lift hips toward ceiling keeping knees and thighs parallel. Lift hips until the body is flat from chest to knees. Keep neck loose by lifting chin away from body. Hold for 30 seconds. Slowly roll spine down one vertebra at a time.
For core equipment make sure you have a study chair, a non-slip, well padded mat such as a good quality yoga one, or thick carpet. You can also use a non-elastic cotton or nylon six foot yoga strap to help with stretches and a four to six pound medicine ball.
As you concentrate on your core start slowly and gradually challenge your body. You may want to do core exercises two to three times a week, working toward the daily 20-40 minute daily goal. Or you can sprinkle in a few core exercises with your other strength and stretching exercises.
The idea is to put core exercises at the center of your workout and find out what a difference that can make. If you need more direction, talk to a pilates or yoga instructor for suggestions on the best core workouts. I think you will be more than pleased with the results. More energy, trim new fitness and added power is hard to turn down.
As always, if you have health issues, be sure to talk with your doctor first before beginning new exercises.