When we were growing up, your core was something you tossed in the trash after enjoying your apple. Nowadays, it’s the one part of our bodies we will do just about anything to keep strong. Not only do we want to beat the midlife, midsection flab that threatens it, but we now know the core is what helps us feel good in so many ways. A tight core means more than bikinis. It means good posture, less pressure on our knees, easier carrying, and less chance of back ache, among other health perks.
How can we tighten the core without sweating to death? Here are 6 easy exercises that will do the trick.
6 Easy Exercises to Tighten & Tone your CORE
Core Exercise 1: Bicycle Crunches
Not only is this one of the most popular core exercises, its the most effective. Bicycle Crunches work the upper, middle, and lower abdominal muscles for the full experience. 3 sets of 20 seconds each.
Core Exercise 2: Switch Toe Touches
The switch of the legs allows you to tackle the upper belly muscles while stimulating the oblique side muscles. Lower one leg, touch your toe, switch sides. 3 sets 15 seconds each.
Core Exercise 3: Hip Pops
One of my favorite core exercises of all time. Allows you to tackle the lower belly area (below the belt line) which can be a hard area to target. 3 sets 25 seconds each.
Core Exercise 4: Plank Knee Crunches
Great exercise for not only the core but also upper body. The plank position helps stimulate the chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and back. 3 sets of 30 seconds each.
Core Exercise 5: Plank
Good old fashion Plank. Can’t get better then this. Do your best to keep the core tight and shoulders and wrists in line with one another. If you feel your belly dropping try modifying on your knees. 3 sets of 30 second holds.
Core Exercise 6: Side Elbow Plank
Great for the side muscles. You can also take it a step further and pulsate the hip up and down for more intensity. Hitting the love handle area! 3 sets of 15 reps each side.
How to Make Sure Your Core Exercises Don’t Kill You
For starters, Hydrate.
But Why? For optimal detoxification and maximum energy its so important to stay hydrated. Drink 2-3 litres of water per day. Our bodies “detox” while we sleep so it’s helpful to drink a big glass of room temperature water immediately upon waking. Then before you start the day drink some warm water with lemon (half a cup will do).
Get in the habit of taking probiotics.
But Why? A good quality probiotic will optimize digestion, reduce belly bloat, and strengthen your immune system. They will also help to keep “things moving” regularly.
Avoid white flour and sugars.
But Why? Reduce or eliminate processed foods. Try replacing with whole grain options, and get your carbs through unrefined sources like fresh organic fruits & vegetables.
Increase your magnesium intake.
But Why? This will help to reduce bloating and decrease fluid retention. Eat magnesium rich foods like kale, spinach, chard, avocado, banana, black beens, almonds and pumpkin seeds. You can also get a boost by applying magnesium oil directly to your skin, or taking an epsom salt bath.
Move your body. A lot.
But Why? This can be a chill yoga flow, taking a walk outside, or something more intense like a high intensity strength and cardio workout. Anything that gets the heart pumping and sweat flowing will do the trick. Incorporate some type of movement every day.
Alyssa Delmonico is a Certified Integrative Health Coach, Mind Body Bootcamp Teacher, and Director of Wellness at Circuit of Change in New York City. Alyssa is on a mission to help active people like YOU feel your best from the inside out. She makes clean plant-based eating easy (and super tasty), through her online seasonal detox programs, nutrition workshops, and wellness guidance.