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Considering that I’m sitting on my exercise ball as I type this, I am a firm believer in maintaining a strong core and strive to use proper posture at all times. Now, I’m not as consistent with this as I would like to be and need reminders now again – and these reminders usually come in the form of lower back pain.
So, before our body reminds us with its aches and pains, try using one or more of the following core strengthening exercises provided by our experts. You can exercise on the go, performing them just about anywhere, some even sitting right at your desk.
Sit Up and Tighten your Buns with Chair Yoga
Chair Yoga is a process of being aware how you are seated, adapting the chair to your body and then supporting and properly positioning your spine and head. All this is accomplished in Sitting Mountain Pose. You will engage core muscles throughout your day.
Find a non-rolling chair with a firm back. Place a pillow under your feet if you are short, under your buns if you are tall. Point the toes forward, flat on the floor. Place your two fists between your knees to have the thighs hip width apart. Rest the hands on the middle of your thighs, elbows snug to your ribs. Press the feet, hands and elbows down, take a breath in through your nose and extend your spine, heart and head upward. Engage your buns inward, holding them as you exhale and roll your shoulder blades back and down onto your back ribs. Keep the head level. Release the buns when you finish exhaling.
The Abdominal Track Slide Exercise
As a holistic family doctor I’ve observed many people seeking to strengthen their core and tone and slim their abdomens. Sadly, many hurt themselves if they use the conventional military type sit-up exercise because it places way too much strain on the back and neck. A better alternative is what I call The Abdominal Track Slide – it’s fun!
Simply lay flat on your back with arms to the side and legs straight. Now raise the heels about 2 inches off the floor and slide the heels towards the buttocks then back again. Repeat this to fatigue. Rest and then continue a total of at least 3 sets twice weekly.
This maneuver tones both the upper and lower abdomen equally and quite fast, producing a flatter and toned tummy.
Dr Tom Potisk, The Down to Earth Doctor
Use an Exercise Ball for Core and More!
Performing exercises on a large ball builds your core, helps you develop better balance and can have cardio benefits too!
THE SET UP: Kneeling in front of your ball, place your forearms on top of the ball, press down, pulling your shoulders away from your ears.
THE MOVEMENT: Do NOT lean your body into the ball. Rather, roll forward on to your forearms creating a plank. Keep your abs drawn in and your hips slightly tucked under to protect your lower back. For added challenge, lift your feet and shins so that you are balancing on your knees. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat 5x.
BONUS CARDIO: Bounce on your ball! Moving your arms and legs in jumping jack fashion gets the heart rate up even more. Be sure to always be in control of your ball. You’re bouncing it – it’s not bouncing you! This motion also helps strengthen core muscles as you must engage them or you’d fall off the ball! Though not as intense as plank you get the cardio benefits.
What is your favorite core strengthening exercise you can perform on the go?
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