Strengthening your core one step at a time

Strengthening your core one step at a time

The Summer season is here, salads have suddenly appeared in our kitchens and on our plates. And while having a full summer fruit bowl and salads to snack on is a dietitian's dream, a healthy diet is only one side of the proverbial coin... EXERCISE is the other.

So, let’s stage a revolt, a revolution, and revamp on how we view the battle of the bulge and the tools we’ll need. Here are some home exercise ideas to incorporate into your daily routine as you tackle the “core” of the problem.

Step one – Criss-cross leg

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  • Sit up straight on your chair, pull in your stomach muscles and lift your legs up straight in front of you (resembling 90 deg).
  • Now alternate crossing your right and left feet over and under one another while keeping your muscles tight and your legs off the floor – aim to do this for 30 seconds.

Step two – The perfect crunch

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  • You will need a cup or any other small object that you can easily move from one hand to another.
  • Lie on your back and bend your knees with both feet flat on the floor (preferably on an exercise mat for some support).
  • In a sit up motion lift your back up off the floor until you are able to pass the cup under your knees from one hand to the other.
  • Whilst keeping your back off the floor, repeat passing the cup under your knees and then passing it over your knees in a circular motion – aim to do this for 30 seconds.

Step three – Bicycle floor exercise

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  • Lie on your back flat on the floor (preferably on an exercise mat for some support).
  • Pull in your stomach muscles and raise your head and shoulders off the floor with your hands placed behind your head.
  • Alternate pulling one of your knees up to resemble a 90 deg angle and then back to their position hovering just above the floor. This action is like that of mimicking riding a bicycle – aim to repeat this motion for 30 seconds.

Step four – Dolphin plank

  • Begin in the traditional planking position with your elbows and forearms flat on the floor, your elbows should be directly under your shoulders and your legs extended behind you.
  • Tighten up your stomach muscles and you’re ready to begin.
  • Push back on your feet raising your buttocks and hips into the air and hold for a moment, your head should be between your arms.
  • Return to the original plank position for a moment and hold.
  • Repeat pushing back on your feet and lifting your buttocks and hips into the air and holding for a moment – repeat these motions for 30 seconds.

The first goal is always to build up to a good 30 second work out of each of the steps while keeping those stomach muscles tight. If at first 30 seconds is out of your reach don’t get discouraged, do what you can and rather aim to have a shorter work out of each of the steps twice a day. If you don’t find 30 seconds a challenge, then set your stopwatch on your phone to 45 seconds of each step and increase your time from there.

This summer add a spring in your step by not only choosing a healthy diet, but by choosing a healthy well-balanced lifestyle one day at a time.

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