Fall is a busy and active time of year. While many have been hectically scurrying to settle in to a new school year, others have been expending enormous amounts of energy winterizing the yard, gathering wood for the stove, and unpacking the shovels in anticipation of calorie-burning snow removal. These fall and winter activities take strength and stamina to endure.
A strong core is paramount to having increased energy and to prevent back pain or injury. The following are a few basic core exercises that will help you stack that last load of wood and leave you with enough energy to shovel yours and your neighbor’s drive.
No, this is not the same thing as the classic 1950’s physical education exercise that wreaked havoc on people’s lower backs. It is however, a more modern and adaptable version of it that is much more effective, plus a lot safer.
Stand with your feet about a leg length apart and turned out 45 degrees. Stretch both arms out to the side. Spin from your ribs to the left, and bend your left knee over your ankle in a modified side lunge. Next, lean over your left leg and reach your right hand to your left foot, and your left hand up toward the ceiling. Come back to standing and straighten both legs. Twist to the right, completing the same move on the right side. Alternate sides up to ten times each side.
No need to imagine out-of-style leotards and neon pink leg warmers here, this new version of the classic bicycle exercise for the abdominal muscles is totally hip and up-to-date.
Lie onto your back with both hands behind your head. Bring both knees over your hips with your shins parallel to the floor. Lift your upper body and turn it to the right knee as you extend your left leg forward 45 degrees. Switch sides and legs at a pace of about one breath (exhale) each side. Do this for up to one full minute before resting and repeating.
If you live in a wintery area, you probably won’t be jumping into the lake anytime soon; it’s already way too cold for that. But you can still imagine you are swimming in this innovative exercise for the muscles of your back.
From a prone position, lift your upper body and bring both arms under your chest. Next, reach your arms forward and lower your upper body as if you are diving just under the surface of water. Lift your head up, take a deep breath, and sweep your arms by your sides. Repeat by bringing your arms under your chest and then extend them forward as you lower down. Just as if you were swimming laps in your neighborhood pool, begin to kick your legs from your hips.
There is no better time than the present to start working on your core strength in preparation for winter. And as an added bonus, a strong core will help keep you from falling if you happen to slip on the ice this winter.
October 17th, 2012