My brain does not work like most people’s. If you’ve read any of my posts, this will not exactly be news to you. I call it being “artsy,” which translates to, “I am completely nuts, but sometimes those crazy thoughts produce something creative, so I get a pass.”
It comes in handy sometimes, though, like when writing this blog. My head spins with ideas 24/7, so I am never at a loss for topics. I can write even when I haven’t done anything exciting, like leave the house.
For example, I have a mysterious bug bite on my right arm. I don’t know how it got there, what monstrous creature bit me or how long before I’ll need a replacement bionic arm.
But even without that knowledge, I would have no problem writing a thousand words about it.
That’s not normal, by anyone’s standards.
Fortunately for you, my friend, I have bigger things to discuss today, so the bug bite issue will have to wait. Trust me, I will eventually get around to that subject in the near future.
In today’s journey into the deep recesses of my thought processes, I’d like to divulge the negative side of not being able to tolerate the anti-anxiety meds at the level at which I really need them.
Here’s the best way to sum it up. If you’ve ever watched Stranger Things (highly recommended, by the way), you’ll know what I mean when I say I feel I often feel as if I’m in the Upside Down — a world parallel to current reality but scarier, darker, and with (more) faceless monsters.
I’m exaggerating, but not by much.
This was brought to my attention by recent comments from a friend who reads my blog. He said my blog topics, although “hilarious,” start out being, “not even remotely about fitness… at least not until the very end.”
That, apparently, is odd. After all, it IS supposed to be a fitness blog. So it stands to reason the fitness part should be first and foremost.
Well, sure. But here’s the thing: fitness can be sorta boring. (Yup, I said what you’ve been thinking all along.)
Even a lotta boring.
I know of what I speak, because I’ve been writing about fitness for over 12 years, and have penned literally hundreds of articles on the topic.
Through it all, I’ve learned many valuable things, such as how to address exercises for the gluteus maximus by using non-offending words: glutes, butt, behind, rear, booty, behindularzone (the latter from Dave Barry in his column about his colonoscopy), to name a few.
And I’m still doing it.
If I had a dime for every time I wrote the words, “stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent…” *yawn* admit it, you dozed off for a second, didn’t you? No court of law would blame you.
But here’s the thing with my posts: You can always scroll down to the bottom of any of these posts for the Actual Solid Information promised in the headline. It’s there. I want to pass along good information, I really do.
You can do that now, in fact. I’ll even put an asterisk* near the start of the legit info.
I promise I won’t talk about you at all to the other readers. Nope, just minding my own business, chatting about the weather and such… not caring at all about whether you’re still here… psst, are we alone?
Good. Now it’s just us people who enjoy a side order of laughs with our biceps curls.
But the real reason I
blab on about every nonsensical thing that pops into my headdo what I do? Because real life is either super scary, extremely unfunny, ridiculously upsetting, or all three. And that’s just Facebook.
Most days I wouldn’t get out of bed if I read the news first.
In fact, today is Halloween, but most of 2017 has been scarier than anything a zombie can throw at you, including its own arm.
My goal is to provide a welcome relief from the horrific news of the day by serving up a plate of not-exciting info surrounded by tasty morsels of ridiculousness.
At least that’s how I see it.
*Now for the reason for this post… how to turn any exercise into a core exercise. See? I always get around to my main topic eventually.
Oh, you guys back for the “real info”? Cool. We missed you.
Okay, first, you need to locate your core. No need for flashlights, long ropes or protective gear. Simply place your fingers just inside your pelvic bones. Got it?
Now to activate: Slowly and gently draw in your lower abdominal wall towards your spine. This should be a subtle contraction. Avoid holding your breath, since this is what you’ll need to do while exercising, preferably without passing out.
With practice, this should become automatic before you perform any exercise.This protects your spine by stabilizing it while you’re doing other things like using your arms and legs for things.
Because your core, in essence, literally links together your upper and lower body. Without a strong core you’d be flopping around like one of those inflatable whacky waving tube dummies outside car dealerships.
I assume that’s not something you want.
In addition to doing exercises targeting your core, such as planks, bird dog and side planks, you can also add a core element to any exercise in a few different ways.
Regardless of which method you try, always activate your core before you do the move.
1. Challenge your balance
Clearly, you need to be safe about it. Stand near a wall or sturdy object in case you need to stabilize yourself. The simplest way to challenge your balance is by standing on one leg while doing an upper body exercise such as biceps curls. You can also do dumbbell chest presses while using a fitness ball as a substitute for a bench. Engage your core before you start and keep it engaged throughout the exercise. For upper body exercises, try hoisting one dumbbell at a time. This throws off your center of gravity and is particularly challenging when done on a fitness ball. You’ll need to lower the resistance for one-armed versions.
2. Use outside forces
You’ll need a partner for this. The other person doesn’t have to do the exercise — and they get to poke and prod you — so it should be easy to find a volunteer. Simply have them (gently, please) nudge you while you’re doing an exercise that requires core stability, such as the bird dog or plank. Have her walk around you while you’re on all fours, nudging your hip or shoulder, for example. You should feel your core engage as you try to keep stable.
3. Add tubing to boost intensity and balance
You can also incorporate tubing or bands into the mix, like wrapping a band around your thighs while doing squats so you focus on your outer thigh muscles as well as glutes and quadriceps. This also ups the ante on the overall intensity of the exercise.
YOUR TURN: Which will you try this week? Let me know in the comments section below…
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