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Beginners Exercise for CORE Muscles if you are Seriously Out of Shape
Yes, you really can have a core that looks like this.
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Begin at the Beginning
Injury: It has happened to me and to other people I know. We go out and try to run up a hill like they do on television, and all we do is injure the tendons in our feet to the point that we can't even walk, let alone run.
We try to lift heavy weights and the next thing we know, we have thrown out our back or torn ligaments in our shoulders, back, hips and more. I know because I have hurt myself by trying to do all the fad exercises when I was just too out of shape.
So what should you do if you are a beginner or so weak from a sedentary lifestyle that you feel like you are not strong enough to fight your way out of a wet paper bag? The answer is simple: just begin at the beginning. I am a real woman. I am not a doctor, nor am I fitness professional. What I am is a woman who has lost over 50 pounds, who began a self-made fitness program because I was so weak that I really did hurt myself trying to do what they do on television. In this article I share with you just one of the exercise moves that helped me to begin getting my body strong once again. I do not put photos of myself here because I simply do not want my image all over the internet. I like having a private life right now, and while I may change my mind at some point in the future, right now I like to just be me.
So, without further explanation, I give you one of my starter core exercises that gave me a foundation to build on. It worked for me and I believe it will work for you as well.
DISCLAIMER: This article is not meant to take the place of medical advice. Everyone should check with their doctor to make sure they are healthy enough to do this exercise, and seek professional advice if they have questions about how to exercise properly.
Exercise and Injury
Have you ever injured yourself trying to get back into shape?
Strengthen Your Core First
Being very out of shape, I was having problems sleeping, and problems moving. My back hurt all the time and I was so heavy that even tying my shoes was a problem. When I would bend over, it hurt my back and shoulders. I constantly had little kinks and twinges. Even sitting at my desk for long periods of time cramped my shoulder muscles and it was hard to sit up straight.
When I finally committed to doing something about it, it seemed sensible to first begin strengthening my core. When I say this, I am talking about strengthening the muscles from the top of my neck down to the bottom of my hips. It is my belief that these muscles are the muscles responsible for holding our spines in the correct alignment. When they become weak, our spines become wishy-washy, and this contributes to the aches and pains that are so common to many of us.
Gentle Motion Builds Core Muscles
How to do My Beginning Core Exercise
Begin by sitting down. You read that right. Any chair will do except maybe a rocking chair. I used both my couch and a chair at my dining table. Position yourself as follows:
- Sit on your chair so that both feet are flat on the floor. Do not round your back or lean back against the back of the chair. Roll your hips forward just a bit so that you are sitting squarely on your bottom and your back is straight. Look straight ahead with your chin up, yet neutral.
- Position your arms: Raise your arms to shoulder height and bring your hands to your chest. Your elbows will be straight out from each side of your body.
Now, you will begin the simple movements that make up this toning exercise:
- Breathe deeply and exhale. As you do this, allow your chest to open, and begin to slowly contract your pectoral muscles and your arm muscles.
- Next, contract your shoulder muscles, your back muscles, and your abdominal muscles.
- When you have effectively tightened all of your core muscles, slowly turn to the right and hold for a count of 3. This will be a very small movement. Do not force it by swinging or bouncing. Just slowly and gently turn your upper body as far as you comfortably can and hold to the count of three. Allow your hips to remain stationery. Do not twist your hips. Your hips and bottom are the anchor that keeps the rest of you in proper position.
- Return to the starting position and release the contraction.
- Now, repeat this going the opposite direction, hold to the count of three and return to the starting position.
- Repeat this exercise five times to begin with. This means five times for each side.
That is all there is to it. As you do this exercise, remember to breathe deeply, inhaling and exhaling in and out in a way that is both comfortable and cleansing to your system. I typically inhale as I am turning my torso and exhale while I am holding to the count of three. This seems to help me to keep my chest and diaphragm open during the process.
Now, over the next couple weeks or so, work up to doing 10 to 15 repetitions on each side. When you have accomplished that, you may be ready to try a more strenuous core exercise, or you may decide to just maintain the new level of core fitness you have created. The choice is yours.
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This exercise uses the principle of muscle control to create resistance. By tightening your core muscles, you have created some resistance to the movement you are performing. When beginning this exercise it is important to only do what you are able to do. Please do not try to force your body to do something that it is not yet capable of doing. By doing this exercise in the way that I describe here, I was able to dramatically strengthen my back, shoulders, waist, and even hip muscles in the space of just one week. I did experience some slight soreness in my muscles for a couple of days, but I stress that the soreness was only slight.
While some advanced fitness people might argue that this exercise isn't strenuous enough to be beneficial, my personal experience was that I found myself moving more freely in my work and other day-to-day activities after just three days. I continued to do this exercise, and went from not being able to feel my muscles flex, to noticing that I was flexing those muscles regularly as I went about my day.
I began with five repetitions on each side and worked up to 25. I still use this exercise today.
Exercise Can Be Painless
© 2014 Nancy Owens