Having healthy core muscles are important to everyone, as they are responsible for our balance, posture, digestion, and our overall health, strength and agility. Your core muscles do not only refer to your stomach, but also your back, hips, pelvis, shoulders and neck. If these muscles are well developed and regularly exercised you are a lot less likely to throw out your back, have incontinence issues, and/or have postural imbalances as you age.
Try out these five moves that will help target this vital area:
1) The Bicycle
To execute this move, lie on your back and link your fingers behind your head. Raise both of your legs off the ground at a 45 degree angle, bringing one knee up towards your chest and leave one extended. At the same time, twist your upper torso so that it seems as if you are trying to touch the opposite elbow to the knee closest to your chest. In a slow and controlled motion extend the leg that was bent and bring the other knee towards your chest. Twist your upper body as if to touch your other elbow to your knee. Repeat in reps of 20 for 2-3 sets.
2) The Plank
On your knees, rest your forearms on the ground in front of you and hold your upper torso up. Extend both legs out behind you and hold your body still and flat. As you maintain this pose, focus on keeping your body as straight as possible. Do not push your hips up or let them drop to the ground. Contract your stomach muscles, as if you were trying to pin your belly button to your spine. Hold this pose for as long as comfortable at first, slowly increasing the time as your body becomes accustomed to it.
3) The Superman
Lie down on your stomach and extend your arms above your head as if you were Superman. Raise your right arm and left leg 5-10 cm off the ground and hold for 10-15 seconds. Lower your limbs and then lift the opposite arm and leg holding for the same amount of time. Repeat 5-10 times per side, for 2-3 sets.
4) The Jackknife
Lay on your back with your arms stretched over your head and your legs extended. In a slow motion bring your arms and legs together, lifting your torso off the ground. Your body will form a rough V-shape. Hold this position to the count of five and then slowly lower your arms and legs back to the ground. Repeat 10-15 times for 2-3 sets.
5) The Bridge
While you lay on your back, bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the ground. Your arms should rest at your sides with your palms down. In a controlled motion raise your hips until you form a straight line with your body from your shoulders to your knees, supporting your weight on your arms and feet only. Hold this for the count of ten and then lower your hips back to the ground. Repeat 10-15 times for 2-3 reps.