Four Easy Moves to Strengthen Your Core
1. The plank. Lie face down with your arms under your shoulders and your legs straight (pictured). Inhale, and push your body up onto your forearms and toes. Keep your spine, neck and hips straight as a board. Continue to breathe, and focus on maintaining your body’s position for five seconds. Return to your original position. That’s one rep. Do eight to 12 reps.
2. The seated squeeze. Sit on a bench or other sturdy seat. Lift your feet off the ground and lean back slightly, grasping the bench or chair for balance. Draw your navel toward your spine and bend your knees to bring them toward your chest. Pause briefly, and then return to your original position. Do eight to 12 reps.
3. The bicycle. Lie on your back on the floor or ground. Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle with your hands behind your head. Slowly bring your right elbow to your left knee as you extend your right leg out. Then extend your left leg out as you pull your right leg back in, and bring your left elbow to your right knee. That’s one rep. Do eight to 12 reps.
4. The girdle. You can perform this final move seated or standing. Pull your shoulders back, and draw your navel toward your spine until you feel your abdominal muscles engage. Breathe normally, and hold the position for as long as it feels comfortable. This simple move will help make you look slimmer and work your core to make it stronger.
Want more exercise and physical activity ideas? Check out our Jump Start Daily Dozen video series for 12 simple exercises you can do in about 20 minutes to strengthen your core, reduce stress and stay limber to avoid injury.
If you’re a HAP member, take a fitness challenge through the HAP iStrive for Better Health digital wellness manager. Log in to your member portal at hap.org, select iStrive for Better Health and take a challenge!