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10 Core Exercises For Women

10 Core Exercises For Women

You can’t make excuses when it comes to your fitness, right? No matter how busy you are, you need to be in good shape and health. It’s obviously challenging to find those precious few minutes for a workout, but you need to find time for exercise and add it to your daily checklist. Creative exercise regimens can be a great help when you just want to skip your trip to the gym. People from different walks of life are stuck in this dilemma, especially working women who frequently have to ask the question “When do I workout? I simply just don’t have the time.” Believe me, you do!

All of us desire a lean, hourglass shape, and fitting exercise into our daily routine seems like an impossible task. But there are some basic strategies you can use to get your muscles working and your heart pumping to achieve a well-toned body. We’ve created a list of the top 10 core exercises for women to fit in their daily routine to make the most of their exercise time. No matter how busy you are with your everyday chores, take out some time, work that body, and get some booty.

1. Side Plank

Side-Plank

    The side plank is a yoga exercise that strengthens the arms, abdomen, and legs. The overall sense of balance is improved. It is a variation of the normal plank exercise where you build strength by assuming the position of a pushup.

    How To Do It: Lie on your right side with your legs absolutely straight. Lift yourself up with your right forearm, making a diagonal shape. Your left hand should be resting on your hip. Brace your abs and try to hold for 60 seconds. If it’s not possible for you to make it to 60 seconds, hold for 10 to 15 seconds and rest for 5; make sure your hips and knees stay off the floor. Repeat on the other side.

    2. Pushups

    Push Up

      Pushups are the best exercise for women. Add pushups to your regular workout to strengthen your chest. Your shoulders, triceps, and glutes will get into tremendous shape with a perfectly toned and tightened core. Give yourselves an extra boost by working all those muscles at once, torching tons of calories. You can’t ask for more in a single exercise, right?

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      How To Do It: Position your hands just outside your shoulders, directly below the shoulder line. Keep your feet together and make sure your body is in a perfect line from heels to head, as if a broomstick along your body would touch your head, back, buttocks, and heels. Core and glutes should be tightly engaged. Lower yourself enough to at least get your elbows to 90 degrees and touch your chest to the ground if possible. Raise your body back up and straighten your arms (without locking your elbows).

      3. Step-ups

      Step up

        The step-up is a very simple compound exercise that works several lower-body muscles. It also has many variations that you can include in your daily exercises to stay fit while keeping your routine fresh.

        How To Do It: Stand in front of a step, bench, or stair with straight posture (back, legs, arms, and feet absolutely straight). Your feet should be hip-distance apart and you should have weights in both hands with your palms facing your body. Step onto the center of the step with one foot. Bend your knee slowly and step back down. Remember to switch sides.

        4. Bridges

        Glute-bridge

          The bridge exercise, also known as the hip raise, is an excellent workout to give strength to the bottom, backs of the legs, and the core. People with back injuries can perform this exercise to align their back muscles.

          How To Do It: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips off the floor so that your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Pause at the top then slowly lower your body back to the floor.

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          5. Plank with Arm Raise

          Side Plank with arm raise

            The plank with arm raise is a multifunctional exercise. It improves shoulder and spine stability, along with strengthening the core and lower back regions. The rolling movement of the body as you switch arms shifts the load to your core, ultimately making you work hard to maintain your balance and impacting your posture immediately.

            How To Do It: Get into a pushup position. Slowly raise one arm up and turn your body to face the side with your feet stacked. Hold this position for a few sections, then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat the movement on the other side.

            6. Chair dips

            chair dips

              Chair dips are considered to be one of the best workouts for your triceps, as the entire weight of your body is being held by your triceps as you move through a complete range of motion. This triceps exercise can be done anywhere you can find a sturdy chair.

              How To Do It: Face away from the chair. Hold onto the edge with both hands, knuckles pointing right in front. Get yourself into a sliding posture with your bottom off the seat and arms absolutely straight, but making sure your body is close to the chair. Lower your body for two counts slowly while bending your elbows (which should be pointing directly behind you). Straighten your arms for a count of two. They should be supporting all your weight. Do 10 reps per set. During the last set, hold at the bottom for eight counts and pulse up and down slightly before straightening your arms.

              7. Lunges

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              Capture

                Lunges are a great exercise for the development of the thighs and hips as they target the hip extensors and the knee extensors. There are two main kinds of lunges — the walking lunge and the stationary lunge. Both variations involve the same muscles but the involvement of those muscles is very different.

                How To Do It: Stand tall, pull your shoulders back and place your hands on your hips. Step forward with your right leg and lower your body slowly. Try and bend your front knee to 90 degrees. It’ll be difficult in the beginning, but you will make progress. Make sure your back knee is slightly above the floor and is not rested. Push yourself up and repeat.

                8. Squats

                squats

                  The squat is the king of all exercises. It is a full-body compound exercise and more muscles work in this movement than in any other exercise, making it the most effective exercise to gain overall strength. You can do squats anywhere because you aren’t using anything else except your own body weight. It is primarily used for lower body, thigh, and buttock training. Apart from overall strength, squatting also improves digestion, circulation, and posture.

                  How To Do It: Stand tall and straight with your feet hip-width apart and arms down by your sides. Lower your body back as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Try and push your weight onto your heels. Your arms will start to rise in front of you for balance as you are lowering down. Your spine should be neutral at all times and there shouldn’t be any time during the motion when your knees go over your toes. Keep your lower body parallel with the floor and your chest should be lifted and not rounded. Lift back up, with control, to the starting position.

                  9. Planks

                  Plank-exercise

                    The appearance of your abs could be improved by a well-performed plank workout. It’s the best thing you can do to shape your abs perfectly. The most important thing to keep in mind is the fact that generally people do planks wrong and achieve nothing even after several months of working out. The key to success is to reach a striking position. If you have any spinal or shoulder injuries, avoid attempting this without medical advice.

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                    How To Do It: Get into a pushup position and bend your elbows. Rest your weight onto your forearms and not your hands or wrists. Make sure your body is forming a straight line from the shoulders to the ankles. Start engaging your core by sucking your belly button into your spine. Hold this position for as long as you can.

                    10. Arm Circles

                    Arm Circles

                      This exercise seems extremely simple but is actually a very deceptive and difficult move. It does not add bulk to the muscles involved, yet increases your overall endurance. This movement requires no equipment and is considered to be one of the most effective training movements.

                      How To Do It: Extend your arms out while standing upright. Keep your arms parallel to the floor. Start making circles of about one foot in diameter with each arm. Initially, keep it a bit slow. As you pick up the pace, remember to breathe slowly. Continue the movement for about 10 seconds then reverse it to the opposite direction.

                      Featured photo credit: Earl McGehee / Stretching via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on February 24, 2021

                      How to Find Workout Motivation When You Hate Exercise

                      How to Find Workout Motivation When You Hate Exercise

                      It’s easy to fall into a mindset where you hate exercise. It does, indeed, demand a lot from you. You have to use special clothes, develop a routine and exercise habit, get out of the comfort of your own home, and wear yourself out to the point where you just want to collapse into bed. Fortunately, while there are a lot of reasons to dislike exercise, there are even more reasons to love it.

                      If you want to stop hating exercises and making excuses to avoid it, here’s how to tackle each one of those exercise excuses, get into action, and give your body the attention it craves.

                      1. You Don’t Have to Exercise 30 Minutes Each Day to Get Results

                      Most of us have a number that we think we should hit in order to exercise “enough.” For some people, this is the daily recommended minimum of 30 minutes. For others, it’s 45 minutes of weight-training plus another 45 minutes of cardio.

                      I’m not going to put up a fight with your number here. What I am going to do is challenge your idea of starting with that number right away. You see, even though 30 minutes a day might not seem like a lot, 30 minutes a day for the next 5 years is actually too much for your habitual brain to process.

                      So yes, everyone can do 30 minutes of daily exercise for one week. But how many people can do that for the next 5 years?

                      Starting small has the advantage of bypassing your brain’s fight-or-flight response, the mechanism that make you sabotage yourself when you are trying to do something that seems “big” for too long and makes you hate exercise.

                      This way, instead of mindlessly starting with an exercise program, you focus on building the habit first, and then once you are exercising a little bit every day, you are ready to expand how much exercise you do.

                      2. You Don’t Have to Force Yourrself to Do It

                      If you have to force yourself to do it, then there is a 90% chance that you are doing it wrong, and you will never stick to exercise.

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                      Some people are motivated by challenges and others pushing them, while others hate it.

                      If you are one of the people who hate it, stop trying to change yourself, and of course, stop treating yourself as if you were one of those people who are motivated by challenges and being pushed. The more you use this approach on yourself, the more you’ll hate exercise and avoid it in the long term.

                      Instead, change the way you approach exercise. Stop falling into what I call the “Happiness Paradox Trap.” Instead of starting with what you think you “should do,” start with what feels good.

                      Maybe weight lifting and running aren’t your thing, but have you tried Zumba or Pilates classes? Maybe you hate the feel of a gym, so try getting into cycling instead. Don’t feel that there’s one right way to go about it, and do your best to make it your own.

                      3. You Can Regain Motivation Easily

                      We think that motivation is the answer to sticking to exercise. If only we wanted it enough, then we would make it happen.

                      However, motivation is always there. If you feel you wish you exercised more, then you are motivated to exercise. If you are not doing it, it’s not because you are not motivated. It’s because something stops you.

                      It might be the activated fight-or-flight response we talked about in #1. For example, when you feel that you have too much to do, the fight-or-flight response kicks in, and you do nothing.

                      People who have already made exercise a daily ritual don’t depend on boosting their motivation to get off the couch and exercise. They just do it, naturally, without debating it with themselves, desperately trying to get themselves into action.

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                      Maybe you think you need to devote 1 hour and you don’t know how to do that. Or, maybe you think you need to suffer to get results. Whatever the real reason is, find it. Only then will you be able to figure out a way to remove the obstacle that is on your way.

                      4. You Do Need Exercise to Lose Weight

                      Many people only care about their weight. Yet, our bodies are naturally wired to feel good when we move. Here is a quick list of the benefits of exercise:

                      • Decreases the risk of various diseases and bad health conditions, like high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancer, arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases.
                      • Increases longevity. Many research studies support the fact that exercise can reverse some signs of aging and reduce chances of death by any cause.[1]
                      • Improves mood. Exercise does not just help depressed people; it helps everyone, even those who hate exercise. A quick workout or walk stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
                      • Increases your energy levels. Regular physical activity boosts your endurance and helps your heart and lungs work more efficiently. And yes, that means more energy available for you.
                      • Improves sleep. Regular physical activity can help you sleep better and fall asleep more easily, as long as you don’t exercise a couple of hours prior to bedtime.
                      • Improves sex life. Erectile dysfunction? Lack of libido? Just lack of energy? Exercise may help with all of that.
                      • Helps you better control your weight. Exercise helps you burn calories, plus you build muscle that generally burns more calories than fat. Exercise is a great add-on to a diet or weight maintenance plan.
                      • Gets you better lab results, even if you are overweight. Did you know that an obese person who is fit, i.e., exercises regularly, will show better lab results than a thin person who never exercises?

                      5. Exercise Doesn’t Require All of Your Attention

                      Maybe you are currently busy with your work life, or you are planning a trip next week. Maybe your child just got sick and needs your constant attention. Shouldn’t you just wait until you can give exercise 100% of your attention?

                      This rationale once again sounds plausible, but just like the “I don’t have time” excuse, is it really true? Is not starting because you are not “ready” the best thing for you right now? Is neglecting yourself and your body for a few more weeks/months/years a good strategy?

                      Finally, how many months or years will you spend before you get all your ducks in a row?

                      6. Exercise Can Be Interesting

                      Most advice in response to this excuse tells you to find something that you actually like. Yet, I know that for most people, exercise itself is rarely the thing that makes you hate exercise. Having to do it for “too long” is the issue.

                      That’s why I said that if 30 minutes are boring, try 5 or 10.

                      Now, if this idea of starting small stresses you out, let me remind you the wisdom of #1–the fact that you may want to be exercising one hour a day doesn’t mean you have to start from one hour right away. You can start small, and as you feel more and more comfortable, build your way up.

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                      Getting into a fitness program or hiring a personal trainer for a couple of weeks can also help you find a routine that interests you.

                      7. You Can Rewrite the Negative Past Experiences

                      I understand that you came last at the sprint race when you were at school. I understand that you may feel embarrassed when you attend fitness classes. Luckily, your past does not need to define your future.

                      A client of mine wanted to start jogging. She started by walking around the neighborhood. Yet, she found out she felt really uncomfortable feeling that her neighbors were watching her.

                      She accepted that, and worked her way around it. Instead of walking around her own block, she walked around the block next to her own block, and the problem was solve. A few months later, she was already jogging 2 miles a couple of times a week.

                      8. Exercise Doesn’t Need To Be a Hassle

                      If you think you need to exercise for an hour, take a shower, and drive to the gym and back, then you have two hours gone, just like that. You might like moving your body, but you certainly don’t like having to spend all this time working out!

                      Luckily, exercise that gets you results doesn’t have to take all this time and scheduling brainpower.

                      To start, you could do something that takes less time and planning, like exercising at home. You may feel more comfortable if you get to work out within sight of your comfy sofa instead of driving 20 minutes to the nearest gym.

                      You can also try automating. For example, if you go to the gym after work, make sure your gym bag is ready from the day before, so you don’t have to deal with that during your busy morning.

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                      9. You Do Have Enough Time to Exercise

                      Even though we know people busier than us who actually exercise, we keep saying we are “too busy,” and we hate exercise for making us even busier.

                      Have you ever thought that being “busy” is actually a lie? If there are busier people than you who make it happen, then so could you. Yet, even though we acknowledge that, we still believe it’s true.

                      It’s time to admit that time is not the main issue. It’s probably the way your are prioritizing things, and you are afraid you’ll have to give up something else in favor of exercise. Whatever the real reason, you need to find it if you want to give your body a chance to thrive.

                      If you don’t know where to start when finding time to exercise, check out Lifehack’s free 4 Step Guide to Creating More Time Out of a Busy Schedule.

                      10. Exercise Will Not Take Time Away From Other Things

                      You might be worried that exercise will take too much of your time, or that you’ll need to give up another hobby or time with your family to do it.

                      If you don’t want to hate exercise, you must first stop making it the enemy. If it is the thing that will “stop you” from doing other things, you’ll likely never convince yourself that it’s worth it.

                      However, if exercise becomes the thing that will help you become healthier, be more active for your kids, and focus more at work, it then becomes a necessity that you’re willing to make room for in your life.

                      The Bottom Line

                      It can often feel natural to hate exercise. Life is already demanding a lot from us, and exercise is just one more thing we have to squeeze in. However, once you realize all of the benefits you can receive from it, it will feel less like a chore and more like the part of your day you look most forward to.

                      More on Getting Into the Exercise Habit

                      Featured photo credit: Minna Hamalainen via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] Maturitas: Exercise and longevity

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