This is probably one of the most challenging times in people’s lives – to be kept apart from family and friends for months for fear of further spreading the coronavirus. This is also the longest time that most people have stayed at home 24/7 because of the quarantine and social distancing measures that were implemented state and countrywide. Most of us have adapted to working at home, distance learning, and other kinds of essential activities that are required for us to survive and thrive.
What about keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy? I, for one, have been jumping from one exercise regimen to the other just to make sure that I am fit while staying at home. Yesterday, I started a program that I’ve always wanted to do but have never done before the pandemic hit, simply because I didn’t find the time and effort to do so. But this time, this global crisis has encouraged me to challenge myself and do something that not only helps me tone my core muscles but also increase my patience and determination. I started a mind and body workout known as Pilates.
Let me share some of the best moves that emphasize the midsection of your core muscles. You won’t need any equipment for these moves, which is why I love them. You can start them like I did, doing first the ones that are easy for you to do. Slowly, you can incorporate all the exercises for the rest of the week.
- Leg Circle. Lie on your back with both arms by your sides and your palms down. Flex your right knee and stead your left foot grounded on the floor. Then straighten your left leg up in a way that it is in a 90-degree angle to the floor. Move your left leg to form a big circle in the air while keeping your back flat on the floor. Do a reverse circle. Complete all repetitions on the left leg and then move to the right leg.
- One Hundred. Lie on your back. Raise both legs up with the feet facing the ceiling and then slowly move them down until they are halfway. When you feel stable, raise your head up as you extend your arms along your body, keeping your palms facing down. Pump your arms upward and downward as you inhale for five seconds and exhale for five seconds. Repeat ten times or more as you progress.
- Criss-Cross. Lying face up, pull both knees up and inward to your chest. Stabilize your head by placing both hands behind it while keeping your elbows flexed. Move your head up; bring your right shoulder toward your left knee as you straighten your right leg. Do the same on your left shoulder, bringing it towards your right knee and extending your left leg. Do this alternately.
- Scissor Kicks. Still lying face up, straighten your right leg upward so that is it in a 90-degree angle to the floor. Pull your right leg to your face with both your hands while moving your head up as well. Now, try to raise your left leg to the ceiling. Do the same on the other leg.
- The Teaser. While you lie with your face up, flex your knees beyond your hips and then raise your feet away from the mat. Straighten both legs while trying to stretch out your arms to reach your feet and raising your head and shoulders off of the mat.
- Pendulum. While lying face up with both arms stretched out to your sides, flex your knees over your hips and raise your feet off of the mat. Then slowly move the knees towards the right while keeping your lower back grounded on the floor. Return to beginning position then do these again on the other side.
- Planks with Leg Lift. Begin in a high plank position with both your hands under your shoulders. Lift the left leg off the floor towards the ceiling, as high as you can, then do the other side. Always contract your core, quads, and butt while doing this (and the rest of the other activities).
Some of these moves may be tough to do at first, but you have so much time in your hands with the social distancing guidelines still active, and probably will be for quite some time. So use your time wisely and work on that core!