Exercise that takes less than a minute or two

I was at a wedding last week and after a short ceremony and then a few minutes of standing and visiting while pictures were taken, my good friend's husband said "I need to go sit over there". His wife replied "No sit right here so we can watch the photos being taken and enjoy the garden." "No" he said "These benches don't have any backs on them." As he exited to go and rest his aching back his wife said "You know all he does all day (he is retired) is sit in his recliner." 
This isn't the only activity I've watched this gentleman miss out on because of his "bad back". And honestly I am not negating actual back issues. But in many cases it really isn't your back that's the problem it's your front.
I can remember after having babies my back would hurt when I vacuumed the floors. But honestly I think my back hurt because my front (core) was so weak that my poor back was having to do all the hard work. 
The strength of your core is crucial to living a healthy active lifestyle.  The term core refers to your body minus your legs and arms. Functional movements are highly dependent on this core, and lack of core health and strength can predispose you to injury. In fact in many cases when you fall and incur injury (sprained wrist or ankle, broken arm, hip etc.) because you tripped what actually happened is that you tripped and were unable to correct your course and catch yourself. Your core muscles were too weak to come to your aid so you plummeted all the way to the pavement.
Core exercises are one of the most important parts of a well-rounded fitness program. Aside from occasional sit-ups and push-ups, however, core exercises are often neglected. Yet it pays such dividend to work on building core strength.My good friend and work our partner recently completed a month long plank challenge and I was AMAZED at her improvement in yoga class. So many of the moves that are the hardest for me were performed so gracefully by her with her new found core strength. 
And the crazy thing is that although a plank challenge is taxing it only takes a couple of minutes to complete, I have one young friend that never gets in the shower without planking first. 

Core exercises improve your balance and stabilityCore exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities. In fact, most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles.
Core exercises can help tone your absWant more-defined abdominal muscles? Core exercises are important. Although it takes aerobic activity to burn abdominal fat, core exercises can strengthen and tone the underlying muscles.

Strong core muscles make it easier to do most physical activitiesStrong core muscles make it easier to do everything from swinging a golf club to getting a glass from the top shelf or bending down to tie your shoes. Weak core muscles leave you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries.

Core exercises can help you reach your fitness goals                      Aerobic exercise and muscular fitness are the primary elements of most fitness programs. But to have a truly well-rounded fitness program, you should include core exercises in the mix as well. 

Core strength needs to be safeguarded as you age. My girlfriend Gail and I have a sweet girlfriend that when she was 94 year old friend she was sore for days if she did something as simple as step up on a stepstool to dust something. On the other hand my daughter that is a Pilates teacher recently had her class doing a plank challenge  and asked them to HOLD A PLANK FOR 3 FULL MINUTES . An older gentleman in the class (in his 60’s) said “My wife and I can plank for 6 minutes”. The whole class was impressed and after the younger students dropped out at 3 minutes the gentleman went on to plank for 6 minutes and his wife continued to 7. (He explained he can go to 7 also but if he goes to 7 she tries to go to 8 and he didn’t want her to hurt herself.)

So what is your challenge for the week? I would like you to practice planking every day and I hope you will continue this challenge beyond this week and complete this monthly challenge.

I am including 5 methods of planking so you can begin where you must. Choose just one method of plank you are able to do and for this week follow the proscribed times for each day. Remember it’s not where you are at now, but that you begin to make dedicated daily positive progress. For each day that you give your best effort to plank once a day as proscribed on the chart you earn the 5 daily bonus points. (Exercise points are never awarded on Sunday so just 30 points possible this week)

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