Moves You Can Use – No Equipment Required
Over the years, there have been many definitions of what makes up your core. For our purposes, the core is the area of the body from the shoulders to the hips. Strengthening this area for stability is critical to potentially preventing injury and enhancing all-around performance. Having a strong core and CORE-dination of movement are also pivotal in general health and well-being.
It is easy to put our health on the sidelines as we focus on work, school, family obligations and socializing. We argue that we don’t have time, that it is too inconvenient to commute to a gym, or that membership is too expensive; some of us even think that we are not fit enough to get started. But think about it: everyone starts somewhere and no one is good at everything, so don’t let that – or any other barriers – hold you back. The exercises I describe here are a great place to start on strengthening your core. They don’t require a lot of time or any equipment.
In order to manage stress and ensure that you’ll enjoy the things and people you love for a long time, you need to make some daily exercise and core work a priority. You use your body every day in all that you do, so why not use your body as a tool to help you fit in fitness?
If your condo has a gym, great! If it doesn’t, that’s OK too because you can easily do the workout I describe here in your home. Whether you choose to fit it in first thing in the morning or at the end of the day, this 15-minute essential core moves workout will make you stand taller, feel more confident, move better throughout your day and help you maintain independence for years to come.
15-Minute Core Moves Workout
This workout includes warm-up exercises and then proceeds to the core workout.
Spend a few minutes at the beginning of your workout on the warm-ups, moving quickly, but in a controlled way, to loosen up and prime yourself for the core workout.
Do three sets of the warm-up: In the first set, perform each exercise for 30 seconds with no break between exercises. Then rest for about one minute. Repeat the exercises for 60 seconds each back to back, then rest for a minute. Repeat the exercises back to back for 30 seconds, followed by some deep breathing and stretching of your large muscles (chest, glutes, hip flexors, back).
The photos illustrate how to perform each exercise, but some of them include instructions to help you get the most benefit from each exercise.
Bodyweight squats with arm extension/pulls
On the way up, create resistance through your upper body (think of a bilateral swim stroke like the butterfly).
Jumping jacks (not shown)
Stand with feet together and hands down by your side. In one fluid motion, jump your feet out to the side while raising your arms above your head, then jump back to the starting position.
Reach-throughs to sunrise
Runners lunge with rotational reach (alternating sides)
Press firmly into the ground with the forefoot and hand that are staying on the ground while engaging your butt on the side you will lift your leg, and extend the opposite arm. Hold for three to five seconds before switching sides.
Keep your chest high, shoulders pulled back, and be sure that you are sitting on your butt, not your lower back.
Plank 3-tap semi-rotations
Stay strong in your core while pivoting on your toes to rapidly “bounce” off the ground three times with your forearm before switching sides.
Downward dog to pull-in high plank
Keep your feet wide and sink your chest back. Bring yourself to a pushup position but dip your hips a little with a squeezed butt before quickly “bouncing” back up to full pushup position, then back to downward dog for repeats.
While activities of daily living like taking the stairs, biking to work and doing manual housekeeping are great ways to get in some amount of movement that is essential for circulation, it is important to add concentrated exercise even in small bursts like these essential core moves. Couple this workout with short bursts of bodyweight cardio exercises to help prevent a myriad of health conditions and add more life and good living to your years.