Whenever you walk or run, your core muscles are active, keeping you upright, balancing your body as your weight shifts, and absorbing the impact as your feet hit the ground. Core muscles not only include your abdominal muscles but also your lower back, pelvic floor, and hip muscles.
Here are FIVE quick & easy core strengthening exercises that can be done in FIVE minutes:
Planks (1 minute):
Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds before lowering.
Side Planks (30 seconds on each side):
Lie on your side on a mat. Place forearm on the mat under your shoulder perpendicular to your body. Place upper leg directly on top of lower leg and straighten knees and hips.
Raise your body upward by straightening waist so body is ridged. Hold position. Repeat with opposite side.
Note: Make sure to keep your hip elevated and firm. Contract your abdominal muscles as if someone were to punch you in that area. Sounds weird but this motion intensely contracts your core muscles.
Fifer Scissors (1 minute): (This one comes from the popular P90X series)
Lie faceup on ground and extend right leg up with straight left leg hovering a few inches above ground.
Crunch up and hold. Reach left hand toward right foot as you extend right arm out to side.
Switch legs and arms smoothly for 45 seconds (or 15 to 30 reps).
Chair Pose (1 minute):
This yoga pose strengthens the core muscles, thighs, calves, and back. It also stretches your shoulders and opens the chest.
Inhale and raise the arms above the head, palms facing each other, shoulder width apart. Your shoulders and arms should be relaxed. Keep your arms straight without locking the elbows.
Exhale while bending your knees as though you were just going to sit in the chair, till you feel a comfortable stretch in the front of your thighs. Your hips should not go below knees. Your heels should remain on the floor.
Tuck your tailbone in to prevent your lower back from arching. Your knees should not go past the toes and are hip width apart.
Point the crown of your head upward and look straight ahead.
Lie flat on your back with your legs straight and your arms over your head. Keep your feet together.
Lift your arms and legs off the ground at the same time and bring them toward each other. Squeeze your abs forcefully and keep your back straight. Try to touch your hands to your toes as you are balancing on your rear. Your body should be in a “V” shape at this point.
Lower your arms and legs back to the ground in a smooth and controlled motion. Stop your legs just shy of touching the ground to keep more emphasis on your lower abdominal area. Repeat the exercise 10 to 12 times.
Try this entire 5-for-5 workout regimen once during the day and again in the evening to walk your way into a sexy new year with a stronger core!