Everyday Core Exercises

Here are simple and sane exercises to tone and strengthen your core using your own body weight. This exercise can be done just about anyway and anytime- Even during commercial breaks from your favorite TV shows- So get up and get strong!

 

Straight Arm Plank

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1. Kneel on all fours with hands directly under shoulders.

2. Come onto toes, contract abs, and straighten legs; keep body in line from head to heels.

Forearm Plank
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1. This is what most people consider to be a standard plank. Lie facedown with legs extended and elbows bent and directly under shoulders; Feet should be hip-width apart, and elbows should be shoulder-width apart.

2. Contract your abs, then tuck your toes to lift your body (forearms remain on the ground); you should be in a straight line from head to heels. 

3. Hold either type of plank for 10 seconds or as long as you can, building up to 60 seconds.

Side Plank

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1. Lie on one side with the legs stacked on top of one another then prop the body up on the hand or elbow while keeping the feet stacked.

2, Modify the position by raising the opposing arm or leg (or both!) in the air to make the plank more difficult, or make the move easier by crossing the upper leg in front of the body for additional support.

Supine Bridge

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1. Lying on your back, raise your hips so that only your head, shoulders, and feet are touching the floor.

2. The supine bridge focuses on the gluteal muscles. Stronger gluteals help maintain pelvic control.

Superman

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1. Lie face down on the floor with arms in front of your body, palms toward the ground.

2. Pull your navel in, tighten your glutes and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

3. Lift your legs off the floor and then your chest and arms. Hold a few seconds and then slowly return to the ground.

4. Repeat this move and as you get stronger you can lift your arms, chest and legs at the same time.

Russian Twists

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1. Sit on the floor, knees bent and feet flat and as close to your bottom as you feel comfortable.

2. Hold your arms in front of chest, palms down. Lean back to a 45 degree angle.

3. Twist to the right as far as you can, come back to center and twist to the left. 

4. Repeat this exercise until you fatigue and then increase as you feel stronger.

Bird Dog
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1. Kneel on the floor with hands firmly placed about shoulder width apart.

2. Brace the abdominals, and at first, practice lifting one hand and the opposite knee just clear of the floor while balancing on the other hand and knee. Half an inch will do until you get the idea of it.

3. When you're ready to do the complete exercise, point the arm out straight in front and extend the opposite leg to the rear,  keep shoulders and the hips parallel.

4. Hold for 10 seconds then return to hands and knees on.

5. Starting out, try 5 repeats on alternate hands and knees -- 10 repetitions in all. Add additional sets of 10 exercises up to 3 sets of 10.

V-Sits
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1. Begin in a seated position, contract your abdominal muscles and core and lift your legs up to a 45-degree angle.

2. Reach your arms straight forward or reach up toward your shins as you are able. Maintain good core posture and a strong spine.

3. Hold this "V" position for several seconds to begin. As you get stronger, hold the position longer .Return to your starting position slowly.

4. Just before you reach the floor, stop and hold the position for a few seconds. Repeat this entire movement several times.

Modified V-Sit
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1. Instead of the legs being straight throughout the movement, the knees bend at a 90-degree angle and are brought towards the chest as you lift.

2. When you release or lower the legs are straightened back to the starting position.

3. Throughout the modified V-sit, your back and head alignment remain straight.

Crunches
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1.Start in a ball ( knees to chest, head and shoulders off the ground)

2. Extend your body into an X, hovering your legs, arms head and shoulders, a few inches off the ground.

3. Return to the ball position

4. Repeat 10 times

 

Lettuce Eat

I remember when I was young eating salads at dinner, the only lettuce I knew of was iceberg and I loved it. That crunchy white, green colored heads of goodness, or so I thought.

Then came the rise of all the other greens, red leaf, romaine, kale and spinach and more and poor iceberg was pushed aside like a naughty cousin. It seemed like it was the slacker of all lettuces and eating it had no nutritional value at all and should be avoided because it was just like eating air.

I am here to tell you that iceberg has gotten a bad rap- it does have nutritional value- maybe not a lot but it can have value in our diets.

First and for most it is very high in water content- 96% so it is a great way to stay hydrated especially if you don’t like drinking water. It is cool and refreshing and in my opinion has a wonderful crisp texture when you compare it to other greens.

Iceberg is a low calorie food; a cup of shredded lettuce has just 10 calories and 0 fat grams, no sodium or cholesterol and 45 grams of fiber. It can add bulk to your diet and keep you full, without a lot of calories.

Iceberg is cheaper than most other greens so that is why most restaurants use it in salads. I agree it does not have the nutrients of other greens but don’t let it stop you from adding it to your other greens and enjoy the benefits that iceberg can provide, it really is not bad for you!

Safety First!

Wear A Sunscreen

Apply a sunscreen 30 minutes before you step outside to do your exercise. The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) recommends to limit sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun's rays are the strongest. A sunscreen that is water-resistant for 80 minutes could be effective if your physical activity will require a tremendous amount of sweating.

Dress Accordingly

Wear light-colored and lightweight clothing that is made from moisture-wicking fabric; this keeps moisture away from the skin and dries quickly.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Outdoor fitness training during the summer months will require you to keep your body extra hydrated. Even if you are not thirsty, drink plenty of water. For extra precaution, drink a glass of water before going outside to workout; this will ensure your body is hydrated during the first 45 minutes of your physical activity.

When Running or Walking, Be aware

Avoid using headphones, or at least use one earbud, so you can hear approaching strangers or cars. Carry your cell phone at all times. Consider carrying pepper spray as well.

Hydration

Hydration is important because our bodies are comprised of mostly water, and proper balance determines how our systems function, including our nerves and muscles. Drinking an adequate amount of fluids helps remove wastes and other toxins; control body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure; and maintain a healthy metabolism.

If you are drinking 8 8oz glasses of water a day, you are probably doing pretty well! But the exact amount of water an individual needs really depends on that person. The average person should be drinking enough water so you are going to the bathroom every two to four hours.

If drinking water is hard for you – there are other ways you can meet your intake needs. Think of foods that are mostly comprised of water. For example, my favorite, watermelon! Have you ever wondered why taking a bite of juicy watermelon on a hot summer day is so good? Your body is craving that water to help regulate your body temperature and stay hydrated. Oranges and salads also have high water content.

So how do you know if you are dehydrated? If you haven’t gone to the bathroom in several hours and your urine is darker in color, that is usually a sign you need to drink more! Also, one might experience  headaches and cramping if they are suffering from dehydration.  Remember water is best!! Coffee and soda pop won’t really help you stay hydrated just because they are a liquid. Your body needs water!!

If you exercise you also need to make sure you are replenishing the fluids you might be losing through sweat. Especially on a hot day – if you go out for a run or other exercise, take water with you and try and drink some every ten minutes or so.

Water is so important to our health, we wouldn’t survive without it. So next time you reach for that coke, swap it out for a water instead! You will save yourself unnecessary calories and sugar, the water will help aid in digestion and make you feel fuller longer, thus keeping you away from those unhealthy snacks throughout the day! You will be glad you did!

Stretching

Flexibility is a main component of fitness.STRETCHING improves our flexibility!

Having adequate flexibility is key to decreasing the likelihood of accidents/falls, and it improves performance in our jobs and everyday activities that require movement.

Stretching as a Warm-up to exercise

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  • Allows blood to pump to your muscles (increases blood flow)
  • Raises body temperature and heart starts to pump faster
  • Prepares our body to do work

Stretching as a Cool-down to exercise

  • Provides quicker recovery (less aches and pains tomorrow)
  • Removes toxins
  • Improves overall flexibility

It is important to stretch at least 1-2 times per day. Make sure to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds with a gentle pull of the muscle. Make sure you are not bouncing and that each stretch is a static stretch. Take deep breaths as you stretch to help you relax.