Getting active: core body workouts

October 9, 2015

Exercise is an important tool in maintaining your blood sugar levels and staying healthy (remember to consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine). Here are some core body workouts to help you get active.

Getting active: core body workouts

1. Bird dog

This move works muscles of the hips, but also the back, chest, shoulders and arms. The multi-element motion improves balance and coordination and helps promote good posture.

  1. Get down on your hands and knees on the floor, a rug or an exercise mat.
  2. Extend your right leg out behind you, keeping your foot about three to five centimetres (one to two inches) off the floor as you straighten your knee.
  3. At the same time as you extend your right leg, reach out straight in front of you with your left arm. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg and arm to complete one repetition.
  4. Continue alternating legs and arms until you finish a set.

Try to keep your back as flat as possible during the movement. If this exercise becomes too easy, try a variation. When you extend your leg behind you, raise it until it's parallel to the floor as you extend your opposite arm straight out in front of you.

2. Abdominal curl

The sit-up is a fundamental part of any well-rounded routine; this version is a little easier and also safer, but still effective for strengthening your abdominal muscles.

  1. Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor, knees bent and arms folded across your chest, each hand touching the opposite shoulder.
  2. Raising your head, use your abdominal muscles to pull your shoulders off the floor so you can look at the top of your knees. Keep enough space to fit a baseball between your chin and chest as you come up.
  3. Slowly lower your shoulders back to the floor.


  • Do seated crunches throughout the day to build even stronger abdominal muscles.
  • Sit on the edge of a non-rolling chair, and lean back so your upper shoulders touch the back of the chair.
  • Place your hands on your thighs.
  • Keeping your butt stationary, slide your hands toward your knees, bending your upper body forwards into a "C" shape.
  • Slowly return to the start position then repeat, keeping your ab muscles tight.

3. The bicycle

This exercise is a favourite strength and endurance builder for athletes from such diverse sports as football, hockey, boxing, gymnastics, figure skating and martial arts. It helps tone and strengthen the muscles along the sides of your abdomen, called the obliques.

  1. Lie flat on your back with your legs straight and your hands behind or lightly touching your ears.
  2. Lift your head off the floor and bring your left knee towards your head, stopping when your knee is about waist level and your thigh is perpendicular to the floor. At the same time, bring your right elbow towards the elevated knee so that your torso twists slightly, and your elbow and knee are as close as possible over your abdomen.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position. Rest for one second and repeat with the opposite limbs.

This exercise should take about five seconds, with two seconds to bring knee and elbow close, and three seconds to return. As you become stronger, reduce the resting time for a more difficult workout. All motions should be smooth and controlled, which keeps resistance on muscles longer and improves strength and tone more quickly. You can do a variation of this exercise any time during the day from a seated position in a non-rolling chair.

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