My first challenge mirrors the month-long challenge my coworker picked for September, but I'm only committing to seven days, instead of the 31 days he's doing. We talked about it last weekend over a couple beers while we watched the baseball game and decided on 15 sit-ups, 15 push-ups, and a one-minute plank.
I haven't been doing any strength training lately, but it's something I've done in the past. Like any exercise, it really pays off . The added strength makes everything I do a little easier, and of course improved muscle tone always looks good. I find the plank to be particularly helpful. More core strength just makes me feel so much stronger all around.
Wikipedia defines it as follows:
"The plank (also called a front hold, hover, or abdominal bridge) is an isometric core strength exercise that involves maintaining a difficult position for extended periods of time. The most common plank is the front plank which is held in a push-up position with the body's weight borne on forearms, elbows, and toes."
It sounds so simple, looks easy, but turns out to be incredibly difficult. Some days are easier than others and it feels like my muscles are just tightening up and getting stronger. Other days my entire body will shake for the duration of the exercise. But whenever I've done the plank regularly in the past, I make progress. I know some people who can hold the plank for many minutes, but I'm pretty happy when I can get up to two minutes. Since I haven't been exercising, I don't expect to get over a minute this week.
If you've never done the plank, check out these links.
How to Do a Plank: A Single Move for Stronger Abs
How to Plank (video)
I really hope this turns out to be an activity I keep up beyond the week. The benefits of strength training are many, such as increasing bone strength and muscle mass (which then burns more calories, even while resting), and boosting energy levels and mood. Running does the that for me also, but I'll take all the help I can get. Who can't use more energy?
Days Two & Three
Day Two: Exercises before running and before work. I did the push-ups off the back of a desk chair, so a little bit lower and more difficult than the wall. Sit-ups were fine, except my tail bone was sore from the first day, when I did them in the shorts with buttons and on the hardwood floor. This time I did them in my little workout room/office/dressing room, with a yoga mat under me.
Day Three: Exercises first thing in the morning. My tail bone was too sore for me to do sit-ups. How ridiculous is that??? So I did the push-ups, which seemed a little easier, and the plank, which went pretty well, with less shaking, and I actually felt I could have held it longer, but I didn't.
The next four days will be a little more difficult. I have a late shift at work tonight and an early one tomorrow, so not even really enough time for sleep between shifts, dinner with my husband's side of the family Thursday night, and a busy weekend. This could be challenging!