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double arm reach with plie

Live Vibrantly - April 29, 2020

At-Home Workout from a Goodwin Living Fitness Instructor

Abs & Legs Using Band & Ball

by Leslie LaPlace, Life Enrichment Fitness Manager

Exercise is the one anti-aging medicine that all doctors agree on. Not only can it help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, it’s also been shown to help relieve stress. In stressful and anxiety-inducing times like these, exercise helps by reducing levels of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which are created by the body in response to stress. Exercise also stimulates the production of endorphins, the “feel good” hormones. My motto is “Exercise! It does a body good!”

The body moves in different directions: forward, side-to-side and rotating. It’s important to continue to do movements that keep you moving in all three planes of motion. Your core stabilizes your body, protects your lower back and can help with supporting your body. A strong core also helps with balance and stability. Strong legs are also important for balance and being able to maintain many activities of daily living: walking, standing, getting up/down from a chair or toilet.

The exercises in the following workout are designed to strengthen your core and legs, helping your body to maintain balance and stability.

Optional Equipment: Exercise Band & Small Exercise Ball

Alternative equipment options are offered for some exercises below. You may also choose to do this workout without using any equipment.

All exercises may be done standing or seated. If standing, please be sure to have a chair or counter nearby to help with balance. Remember to breathe through all the movements!

Go through each exercise in order, 10-15 times, then rest and repeat a second time.

Elbow to Hip with Ball (obliques/core & balance)

elbow to hip with ballIf you don’t have a ball, you can use a small canned good or handheld weight.

Stand (or sit) straight with your arms up holding the ball. Inhale as you take the ball in your right hand and bring your elbow to the hip while lifting the right leg and keeping the left arm up. Lift back to standing and pass the ball to your left hand. Repeat on the left side. You can add a double crunch on each side.

Hip Abduction or Side Leg Lifts with Band (hips)

side leg lifts with bandStand on the band with feet about hip-width apart, holding the ends of the band in each hand and stand straight. You should be able to stand straight holding the end of the band and keep your arms by your side. Shift your weight to the left leg and lift the right leg out to the side, keeping your foot straight (toes forward*) and knees stay mostly straight. Think about lifting from the hip/glute area. With control, lower the leg down and repeat on the other side.

*Do not allow your toes to turn outward, remain tall and upright.

seated hip leg side moveSeated Hip: While sitting on the edge of a chair, wrap an elastic band around your thighs, legs together.  Lift the right leg up and move to the side keeping the ankle directly under your knee (do not just move the lower part of your leg). Keep your back straight. Alternate legs.

Ball Crunches (core)

ball crunches coreIf you don’t have a ball, you can use a small pillow.

Stand, or sit, with the ball against your chest and elbows against the ball. Squeeze the ball between the elbows, lift the right knee up as you bring your chest towards the ball. Do not bend your back. Hinge forward from the hips just a little; no need to come all the way forward. Make sure you tighten your abs when you bring the knee up and hinge forward. Alternate sides.

hip adduction

Hip Abduction/Ball Squeezes (legs)

If you don’t have a ball, you can use a small pillow.

Sit straight on the edge of your seat and place a ball between the knees. Squeeze ball very firmly, pause and then relax the legs.

Cross Chops with Squat (core and legs)

If you don’t have a ball, you can use use a small canned good, handheld weight, or pillow.

cross chops with squat

Stand with feet about hip width apart. Bend the knees and push the hips back (keep your knees pointing forward) and rotate the shoulders so you touch the ball to the right side. In one movement, swing the arms up as you rotate on your right foot to come up on your toes. Try to get your body turned so you are facing left. Complete all reps on one side then switch sides.

cross chops seated
Keeping your legs hip-width apart and knees forward, take the ball to the right, trying to get your shoulders turned. Then take the arms up, turning the shoulder in the opposite direction. Do not use just the arms; make sure turn the shoulders.

Double Arm Reach with Plié (shoulders, core, legs & balance)

double arm reach with plieIf you don’t have a ball, you can use use a small canned good, handheld weight, or pillow.

Stand in plié with hands holding the ball towards the floor. Legs are wide, bent with feet turned out, knees aligned over the toes. Push through the heels and stand up while raising arms up and to the right. Plié down with hands to the floor and come up raising arms to the left. Continue to alternate with plié squat in between.

Leslie LaPlace is self described recovering Software Development Project Manager. Leslie parlayed a lifelong love of and belief in the restorative power of exercise into a satisfying career working with adults ages 55 and older. She believes that staying active can help reduce aches and pains—It’s also a great anti-aging remedy. She has more than six years’ experience working with seniors at Arlington County, The Jefferson, GHBC and GHA. Leslie is a certified personal trainer and aquatic instructor who loves creating a positive and fun training experience. She believes that it’s never too late to improve your strength and balance!


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