In the previous article on "Hard Core Muscles for Mummies (part 1)", we have touched on the importance of strong core muscles. Now let us look at some simple exercises (that do not require equipment) people can do at home to help strengthen their core muscles.
Exercises should be done daily for 3 -4 weeks to see results.
Seated Leg Lift
Sit on a chair with your back flat (do not arch your back) and feet flat on the floor.
Resting your hands over the lower abdominal muscles, pull in your lower abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles while breathing normally. Do not hold your breath.
Keeping the contraction in your lower abdominals and pelvic floor, gently raise one knee so that the foot is about 5-10 cm off the floor. Hold the position for 5 seconds, making sure the pelvis and the spine remain level. Make sure you are still sitting firmly on your buttocks and not shifting your weight to one side, neither should you shift your upper body in any other directions. The upper body should be still with the pelvis level while doing the exercise.
Repeat 10 times with each leg. Gradually increase the hold to 10 seconds or more for future sessions.
Lower abdominal Strengthening
Lying on a mat or firm surface, flatten the small of your lower back into the mat. This movement will tilt your pelvis back, putting it in a neutral position, thus protecting your back. You should not feel any gap between your lower back and the mat.
Next, bend your knees and raise your feet of the floor till the thighs are perpendicular to the mat and the lower legs are parallel to the mat.
Then, while keeping the lower back flat and breathing normally, pull in your lower abdominal muscles and slowly extend the legs until you feel your back is about to unflatten or arch. Hold your legs in that position, feel the lower abdominals drawing into your spine while keeping your lower back flat for 5 seconds, then bring your legs back to the starting position. Be sure all movements are slow and controlled, and that you are not holding your breath.
Repeat 10 times. Gradually increase the holding time to 10seconds and the repetitions to 20 times.
Prone Hip Extension
Lie face down with your lower abdominals pulled in. you may put a pillow under your hip for comfort.
Place fingers between hip bone and the floor. Feel pressure on each side.
Keep the leg straight and slowly float the leg up 5-10 cm. Ensure the pressure on your fingers remains exactly the same, side to side when you move your leg. Hold position for 5 seconds.
Return leg to starting position and repeat with other leg.
Repeat 10 times for each leg. Gradually increase holding time to 10seconds.