All you need is love, right? Aim higher, go for some GREAT loving! This mini-workout will strengthen your torso and hips, stabilize your joints, and increase your endurance. May you have rosy cheeks after this workout, and not after reading. Turn on your favorite music, like the Black Eyed Peas, and rock while you:
Warm-Up: On your hands and knees like a lion, balance as you reach one arm out to the level of your ear. Hold for 10 seconds and return. Repeat on the other arm, then with both arms and one knee supporting you, extend a leg out and balance. After 10 seconds repeat on the other leg. Try now right arm AND left leg for 10 seconds, return them to the floor, repeat with the opposite arm and leg for 10 seconds.
For the next 3 exercises you will be in this position:
Lie on your back, straight spine, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
Chest Fly: Strengthen your “Hugging” Muscles: Place your arms palms up on the ground out to your sides. Bring your hands up toward the ceiling meeting above your chest as if hugging a giant beach ball. Slowly open your arms back down to the ground. Repeat 8 close/open, repeat 8 more with weights or soup cans (1-3 lbs each) in each hand.
Bridge: Strengthen Your Hip and “Bottom” Muscles: Lift your hips toward the sky and squeeze your gluts (bottom). Slowly lower your hips back to the ground and repeat lift/lower 8 times. For variety: Lift your hips and hold a butt squeeze, lift and pulse up for three counts and lower one count, or place a weighted medicine ball on your hips for more resistance.
Inner Thigh Squeeze with Pelvic Floor Contraction: Place a rolled kitchen towel or 12” bouncy ball between your knees and squeeze/release your knees 8 times slow. You can also do this squeeze sitting in a chair with your feet on the floor if more comfortable. Engage your pelvic floor on each squeeze by imagining dipping into a cold pool, or trying not to go to the restroom (moms know these as Kegels).
Mountain Climb in Plank for endurance and stamina: I recently read, “Think of something harder than what you desire to do. The thing you desire to do is no longer so scary.” Well, mountain climbing is certainly harder than a little loving, and this exercise is a bit easier than climbing mountains, so go for it:
Start in “plank” position (push-up form, knees straight, arms straight below shoulders). Level One: Bring one knee in toward your chest than return to the floor, repeat on the other leg in/back and continue alternating knee-ins for one minute. Level Two: Pick up the pace and begin jogging, switching feet a bit faster. Level Three: Change feet simultaneously and quickly, switching one foot in/one out on each small jump. Tip: Place your knees on the ground any time your shoulders or abs need a break, then come back up to plank. Use your abs and back to keep your hips in the same line from your shoulders to your heels throughout. Perfect level one before moving on to levels two and three.
Cool-Down: When finished, sit back on your heels with your arms by your ears and catch your breath. Sit up for 5-10 seconds, then slowly come to standing and walk around for 5 minutes as a cool down.
Other great endurance exercises for loving: Rowing and Running. Both strengthen all major muscles group in your abdomen, butt, thighs; the rowing more so in the chest, back, and shoulders.
Happy Valentine's Day, Love To You All!
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