We always see workouts that promise a tighter tush or abs of steel but are a firm fanny and washboard abs going to help you live longer or improve the quality of your life? Probably not. But the following exercises can.
These are 8 exercises that should be done every day. This workout focuses on balance and flexibility. Why? Because flexibility and balance are incredibly important in our everyday life, yet we seldom give them much thought. The number one cause of death after the age of 65 is complications from a fall and muscle and joint flexibility is critical to movements like tying your shoes, getting in and out of bed and walking around… you know everyday stuff. By doing these exercises daily you will improve your balance and quite possibly add years to your life and by keeping your body flexible add life to your years. Lets get started!
1. Quad & Hip Flexor Stretch
Stand and hold onto a chair or your desk with your left hand. Bend your right knee bringing your right heel up towards your buttocks. Reach down and grab your right ankle. Pull your knee cap down towards the floor and press your right hip gently forward. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch sides.
2. Tree Pose (modified)
Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Shift your weight onto your left foot and bring your right foot off the ground. Place the sole of your right foot against the calf of your left leg. Bring the palms of your hands together in prayer position in the middle of your chest then forcefully push them together. Hold for 10 seconds then switch legs.
3. Hamstring Stretch
From a standing position step forward with your right foot approximately 2 feet keeping your right knee straight but not locked. Hinge at the hips, leaning forward until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of the right thigh. Hold for 10 seconds and switch legs.
4. Empty Step
Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Shift all of your weight onto your left foot and slowly lift your right foot off the ground. Bring your knee up slowly until it is even with your hip. Extend your right foot and bend your left knee, touching the toe of your right foot on the floor about 12 inches in front of you, putting no weight on the right foot (as if you were testing the temperature of the water in a lake you were thinking of swimming in). Lift the knee back up to hip level then return to your starting position. Switch legs.
5. Pec (pectoral) Stretch
From a standing position bring both hands together behind your back and interlace the fingers. Press your chest out as you lift the joined hands upward, towards the backs of your shoulders. Hold for 10 seconds.
6. Sumo Step
Stand with legs twice hip width apart. Drop the buttocks down six to 10 inches bringing you into a wide legged squat position (the deeper the squat the more challenging this becomes). Shift your weight over to your right foot and slowly lift your left foot off the ground 1 to 8 inches. Hold for a count of 5 then slowly lower the left foot back to the ground. Repeat on the opposite side.
7. Sitting Man-Style
Begin in a tall seated position. Cross your right ankle over your left knee, creating a triangle shape with your right leg, then gently press down on the inside of your right knee until you feel a gentle stretch through the hip and buttocks. Hold for 30 seconds. Now gently lean forward, bringing the chest down towards the legs; this should intensify the stretch. Hold for another 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat on the other side, then return to your tall seated position.
8. Standing Single Leg Back Beats
Stand with your feet hip distance apart with your desk or a chair that will not move directly to your left. Place your left hand on your desk or chair to steady yourself then shift all your weight onto your left foot, keeping your torso erect and spine tall. Lift your right leg backwards as you point the toe. Lift your foot anywhere from 1 to 12 inches off the floor (the higher you lift the leg the more difficult the movement). Drop your foot down to the floor and lightly touch the toe on the ground then lift it again. Repeat for 10 seconds then switch sides.