The Flamingo - to strengthen the core

Strengthening our core is vital. It determines how we will be able to move around in our seventies. We need to start now so that by the time we are in our seventies we are in great form to perform! We must ensure that we move away from our comfort zone and test both sides of the body.

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But of course, we must stay safe. I have had some funny comments about the stances to follow. Ladies presume there could be a disastrous fall and us lying in a heap. But no, do things slowly, set yourself up to protect and always with somewhere close to grip and soft to land. Happy Flamingo- ing!!

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If you want to improve your balance and strengthen your core then you should try imitating a flamingo – or at least how the wading bird tends to stand on one leg. Slowly stand on one foot, then outstretch both arms to the sides. Then simply close your eyes and remain in this position for 10 to 20 seconds, switch your feet, and repeat – for 15 minutes every day.

“Standing on one leg makes you engage your core muscle in order to stop yourself from falling to the unsupported side,” says Tim Walker, personal trainer and founder of Evolve Fitness. If “the flamingo” is new to your work-out regime, then it “takes more brain activity and even burns more calories,” he says. Here are a few tips on how to perfect your technique:

Lose the socks

Focus on applying your weight through the heel and centre of the foot. Riley Gooch, also a personal trainer, says that doing this barefoot “is more effective as it improves the stimuli to the brain and allows you to feel the floor”.

Hold your ear

If you feel like you’re going to topple over, touching your ear could keep you on your feet (or foot), according to Walker: “[Your ear] is your centre of balance and touching it will re-centre you.”

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Visualise being anchored

As well as imagining you’re a pink water bird, pretending to be an anchor could help too. Picture yourself holding on to a bar, or any other solid structure, and you may find it easier to maintain your one-footed pose.

Get your resveratrol

Resveratrol is a polyphenol compound that some research has found to improve one’s balance. You can find this compound in many foods including red wine and chocolate, though eating and drinking too much of either might be counterproductive (especially if you opt for the wine right before attempting to balance). Fortunately, you can also find it in lighter foods such as blueberries, cranberries and grapes.

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WellbeingChris Vidal