January exercise of the month
Kayla Thompson, MS, ACSM-EP
“New Year. New You.” What a bold statement of excitement…or intimidation. If you’re frightened, don’t be. If you are excited, channel it! The idea of January 2022 can bring a whole concept of possibilities. There is also this pressure to be where you want to be fast. If that is you, deep breath. Good things take time. I imagine it may not be something you want to hear if your goals include anything involving human performance or weight loss. Don’t be discouraged, friend. You want this process to take time. Ads and products that promote a quick and easy fix will only do more harm. Good things take time. Patience, discipline and commitment are your friends.
In January and February of 2021, we focused on walking and dancing by gaining more movement in our day. April brought us the squat to strengthen our legs. May and June looked at core and hip/glute work. July allowed us to work on our summer body with bicep curls. September and October were fun leg burners with the lateral step-down and banded side-step. It has been quite a fun ride so far! If you have been logging your activity over the past year, now is an excellent time to review your logs. It can be very encouraging and informative for 2022. It is also effective to review to see good to see where you have been in an effort to navigate where to go next.
I hope that stroll down memory lane has you excited about the new possibilities that 2022 holds. There is always a chance to try something new or rekindle the flame of a past passion. Speaking of new, how about we look at a new movement to add to our toolbox of health. I want to start us off with a compound movement. Flutter kicks are going to get us readyto move into 2022! Flutter kicks works your abdominal muscles/core, hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, and lower back. You will more than likely only feel it in your core and the front part of your hip where the hip flexors live. This movement is super fun and has a ton of variations to spice things up! We are only going to look at the basic flutter kick, but do some research and try out everything the exercise variations have to offer. Just remember that you choose what works best for you!
The flutter kick does not require any equipment unless you do not like lying on the ground. If this sounds like you, then grab a towel, blanket or a yoga mat. You begin this movement in the supine position or lying on your back. Places your hands, palms down, on the floor by your hips. Engage your core by tightening your stomach as if you are going to be punched or imagine bringing your belly button to your spine. This is the most important step! After engaging your core, lift your legs off the ground at around a 45-degree angle to the floor. Keep your legs straight and toes pointed forward during this movement. Once lifted, begin by raising one leg and lowering the other at the same time. Imagine you are swimming or making tiny kicks in the air back and forth. The last thing we need to mention is the counting for flutter kicks. It is not your traditional one, two, three, four. With flutter kicks, you count 1-2-3 for one repetition. It will go like this, 1-2-3 1, 1-2-3 2, 1-2-3 3, 1-2-3 4 and so on. If that seems like too many numbers or something you aren’t a fan of, try to do flutter kicks for a certain amount of time. So, rather than 50 flutter kicks, do the movement for 1-2 minutes.
A few things to note about the flutter kick. Number one, the higher you lift your legs, the easier it is. Progress into it if need be. If it is too hard, try raising your legs higher toward the ceiling. If it is too easy, try lowering your legs towards the floor. Number two, keep your core engaged until you have lowered your legs back to the floor. This will protect your back. Number three, listen to your body. I know you are just about to bust at the seams with excitement to do this exercise that you may be tempted to bust out 200 reps but don’t get crazy! Ease into this movement. If laughing or sneezing are excruciatingly
painful the next day, you might have done too many. Number four, have fun with it. Master the basic flutter kick and then try out some other variations. Make moving fun!!
I hope you have a fantastic start to your 2022. Embrace the idea of anything is possible and strive to make it happen! Remember that good things take time and to listen to your body. Patience, discipline and commitment are your friends! Don’t forget to log your activity as you go. If you have any questions about flutter kicks or any movements I mentioned in 2021, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kayla Thompson, MS, ACSM-EP