Shira Kramer’s easy core exercises you can do outdoors or in the playground
While we all know we ought to get more exercise into our week – parenthood is busy and at times it can feel impossible to fit it in. Whether we are exhausted from looking after a newborn, running after toddlers or doing endless driving to kids activities, it’s no surprise we’re struggling to fit a workout in to our day. And then there is the guilt of being away from our children for extended periods of time to take part in structured exercise.
Taking the opportunity to get some important core exercises in while you are out in the garden, park or at the sidelines of a kids activity is a great way to keep fit while keeping up with your busy schedule. Even short spurts or 10 minute increments will help increase your energy levels, strengthen your muscles and improve your mood.
Exercise 1: Bench Planks
Find a park bench or ledge. Place your arms on the bench directly under your shoulders. Step your feet back ensuring your core is engaged and your buttocks gently squeezed. Lift one arm up whilst maintaining your straight alignment through your torso. Progress this by lifting the opposite leg up for 12×2 reps.
Exercise 2: Ladder Hip Lifts
Lie on your back and place your ankles or claves on the ladder. Set your core and you lift your hips up whilst squeezing your buttocks. Gently lower yourself down to the floor. Progress this by taking your arms off the floor for12x2 reps.
Exercise 3: Single Leg Ladder Hip Lifts
Lie on your back and place one leg on the ladder and the other bent at 90 degrees. Set your core and lift your hips up whilst squeezing your buttocks. Check that you keep your pelvis level as you lift up. Gently lower yourself down to the floor. Progress this by taking your arms off the floor for 12×2 reps on each side.
Exercise 4: Lunge With A Swing
Place your back leg on the swing and front leg far enough in front so that your toe is in front of your knee. Bend your front leg and keep it still as you drive the back leg forward and back. Progress this by reaching your arms forwards as your leg goes back for 12×2 reps each side.
Exercise 5: Bar Rows
Grip the bar with your palms facing up. Set your feet in front. Set your core and squeeze your buttocks. Maintain that straight alignment as you lower your body (by straightening your arms). Pull yourself up again by squeezing your shoulder blades. Progress this by stepping your feet further forwards for 12 x 2 reps.
When at the park there is no needs to sit around and watch your kids play. Join in! You owe it to yourself and your family to be as healthy and active as you can be.
As an experienced physiotherapist and fitness professional focusing on pre- and postnatal care, one of the things that I’m most passionate about is helping women stay fit and active throughout their pregnancy and into motherhood.
Shira Kramer is the founder of BeActive Physio in Melbourne and an industry leader in exercise programming (Restore Your Core 8-week online program) for pre- and post-natal women. She has a passion for empowering mums to cope with the physical demands of motherhood and inspiring women to live and breathe active lives.