Your core, the muscles between the bottom of your ribs and your knees and all the way around, is a major factor in keeping you alive right now. Those muscles are helping you breathe, stabilize, move, and sit up straight while providing a protection for your internal muscles and spine. We need to keep these muscles strong to maintain optimal function; it's not all about the six pack!
This is a beginner core workout you can do to at home to jump start that core strength:
Plank Jacks: Get on your hands and toes in plank position. Jump your feet outwards, as if you're doing the bottom half of a jumping jack. Jump back to starting position. To make this one a little easier, step out with each foot instead of jumping.
Vertical Leg Crunch: Lie on your back with your legs straight up in the air, hips at a 90 degree angle. With your hands cupping your ears, lift at your torso to get your shoulder blades off the ground. Be sure not to pull at your neck or curl in at your shoulders. You are lifting straight off the ground without compromising your back. Slowly drop back to starting position.
Reverse Crunch: Keep your legs straight in the air and lift your butt off the ground with your core muscles. Do not use momentum to swing your legs up or compromise your back by curving it in.
To make this one a little harder. Straighten your legs out into a leg lift between each crunch.
Raised Knee-In: Lie down and hold your legs straight, a few inches off the ground. Alternate bending each knee in toward your chest, then returning it to leg lift position. To make this one harder, lower your legs. To make it easier, raise them higher off the ground.
Flutter Kicks: Lie on your back with legs a few inched off the ground. Alternate kicking your legs up and down, keeping them straight the whole time, as if you were swimming.
Crossovers: Lie on your back with legs straight and lifted a few inches off the ground. Alternate crossing each leg over the other, like scissors.
Side Plank: Lie on your side and rest on the elbow that is closest to the ground. Lift your hips so that you are in a diagonal line from your shoulders to your feet. Keep your chest facing outward, not curving over the floor.
To make this one a little easier, rest on your knees instead of your toes.
Russian Twists: Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Lean back, keeping your back straight, until you feel that your core muscles are engaged. Twist at your torso to each side, touching the floor on either side of you as you rotate in that direction.
Toe Taps: Lie on your back, legs raised at 90 degrees off the ground. Bend your knees so that your lower legs are parallel to the ground. Alternating legs, tap your toe to the ground and return it to starting position.The further away from the body you tap, the harder this one will be.
Bird Dog: Start on your hands and knees, like a table. Balancing, lift your right arm and left leg of the ground and straighten them, so you are in a line from fingertips to toes. Return to tabletop position and repeat with your left arm and right leg.
Superman: Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs extended. Using your core muscles, lift your arms and legs off the ground, so the only part of you still touching the ground is your stomach. Lower your body slowly until you are back on the ground.