Tip of the Week
Have you ever tried planking on top of a fridge? How about on a desk, a train or on top of a billboard sign? No? But you might have laughed at those crazy viral photos of planking in unique places. Although their form isnít quite up to par, these plank daredevils are onto something ó a plank is truly one of the best core exercises ever. No need to do endless crunches or break out expensive equipment: planking is an easy, all-terrain, effective exercise.
Planking offers a plethora of benefits. With this one move, you can improve your posture, reduce lower back pain, strengthen your core and increase your stability. Try to incorporate planks into your workout at least three times a week to reap the rewards.
This exercise does it all. Your abdominal and back muscles are the primary muscles targeted, but the shoulders, chest, glutes and legs will be feeling the burn, too.
The name plank is self explanatory when done properly; your body position should be straight, like a wooden plank. Start in the standard push-up position: face down, hands shoulder-width apart, directly below the shoulders. Balance on your toes and contract your abs.
Once you can hold your plank for a minute or two with good form, itís time to amp it up. For a balance challenge, lift one leg and the opposite arm, then hold. For increased intensity, jack your legs out and in for 30-second intervals. To really target the obliques, the side plank should be your new go-to. Lie on either side balancing on one arm with your legs straight and the top leg stacked directly above the bottom. Align your head with your spine and keep your hips up and your abs contracted.
- Life Fitness
Number to Know
71: The world record for planking was set by 71-year-old Betty Lou of Wisconsin, who held her full plank for 36 minutes and 58 seconds
Every 45 minutes in the United States, a child is rushed to the emergency room for a TV tip-over injury, and every three weeks a child dies from a television tipping over, according to a 2012 Safe Kids Worldwide report. If an unsecure TV tips over, it can seriously injure or even kill a small child, and kids younger than 5 are especially at risk.
By 2030, the American Heart Association projects that more than 40 percent of Americans will have some form of cardiovascular disease. This spike in numbers is largely due to the aging baby boomer population. Your doctor can give professional insight into risk factors, some of which include family heredity, obesity, diet and diabetes.
The medical community largely agrees that breastfeeding is the best nutrition for infants, but a new study contradicts that commonly held wisdom. The study involved siblings and was recently published in the journal Social Science & Medicine. It found that breast milk was no more beneficial than bottle-feeding for many long-term health outcomes.
Health Watch: Plank like a pro
Tip of the Week