Exercise is an important part of our lives. Staying in shape is one way to increase your life expectancy. Core exercises help you to have better balance, reduce back pain, and even improve gastrointestinal function.
Most of us have learned what to do when it comes to exercising. The problem is where and when to get the job done. With a busy lifestyle, making time for exercise is a challenge.
Exercising your core muscles also strengthens the muscles in your arms and legs. This in turn improves your endurance and flexibility. Building muscle not only increases muscle mass but also your strength.
Here are five easy core exercises that can be done almost anywhere and whenever you have time. At home, at the office, or on vacation, you can do these easy yet extremely effective exercises.
- The Bridge Butt Lift – Sounds like a plastic surgery technique but it is an easy way to tone your buttocks. Lay down with feet flat on the floor, legs shoulder width apart. Place your hands, palm side down, on either side of your body. Pushing with your feet, squeeze your gluteal muscles and lift your butt off the floor. Hold the position for a count of five to ten and release down to the floor.
This is an amazing exercise to relieve back pain! My physical therapist prescribed this exercise for my sacroiliac arthritis and it helped tremendously!
- Squats – Squats work the butt, the hamstring muscles and the quadriceps. If you aren’t sure of proper form, you can use a chair. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and firmly planted. Push your butt back as if you were preparing to sit in a chair. Keep your abs tight and your upper body straight. Once you reach chair level stop and hold the position for a count of two to five and release. At the lowest point, place all of your weight on your heels for balance and maximum toning.
Be careful not to bend your knees past 90 degrees, so as not to put too much strain on the joints.
- Reverse Lunges – Lunges work the quadriceps muscles. They can be hard for people with knee problems. A reverse lunge still tones the right muscle groups but with less pressure on the knee. Stand with feet together and arms at your sides. Take one leg and move it backwards until you are in lunge position: front leg bent at a 90 degree angle and back leg extended until you are on the ball of your foot. From this position lower yourself down until the back knee almost touches the floor. Hold for a count of two and return to starting position.
- Pushups – This is a classic toning exercise that works all areas of the arms plus the chest muscles. If you tighten your abdominal muscles while you are doing the exercises, you will also strengthen your core. If you aren’t comfortable or strong enough to perform a pushup on your toes, lower your body to your knees, or pushup with your feet on the floor and your hands on a tabletop, countertop, or even a wall. Be sure your arms are tucked into the body and your back straight as you lower and lift your body.
- Crunches – Abdominal muscles can be worked everyday to build strength and muscle tone. Lying on the floor in sit up position, lace your fingers behind your head. Squeezing your abdominal muscles, lift your upper body until your lower back is about to come off the floor. Hold for two to five counts and return to starting position.
These five exercise moves can be done whenever you have time. The best thing about exercise is that its effects are cumulative. Even five or ten minutes at a time will work to your advantage.