Our abdominals are the body's center of power. They're responsible for initiating many of the movements we make and for stabilizing the spine when we do. Here's a challenging exercise to keep them strong and healthy.
Lie face up on a mat or a level, padded surface. Bend both knees into the chest to begin. Contract your abdominals, bringing your chest, shoulders and head toward the pelvis. Reach your hands toward your feet. Maintain this contraction as you straighten your right leg up to the ceiling and your left leg in front of you. Pause for three breaths.
Keep your navel pressed toward your spine as you lower your right leg to meet your left leg. If this is too difficult, raise your left leg a few inches to make it easier to bring your legs together. Pause for three breaths. Release by bending both knees into your chest and lower your head and shoulders down to the floor. Repeat on the other side. Continue to alternate legs until you have done six repetitions on each side.
Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Full Body Stretch" and "Ballet BodySculpt."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times