I recently took up yoga. When I learned that improved posture and balance were associated with core body strength, I sought to strengthen mine. I decided to challenge myself to hold a one-minute plank daily for seven days. I wanted to see if something so simple could create noticeable change and if I should integrate the practice regularly into my morning routine. Here's what I learned and what you might experience during your own plank challenge.
It fits into almost any schedule.
No matter how busy you are, there's almost no excuse for not finding a minute to do a plank, especially when those 60 seconds will be spent doing something physically positive for your body. You can wake up one minute earlier, go to sleep one minute later, multitask so you aren't giving up anything, subtract a minute from your daily social media use — there are so many ways to make time, and trust me, you'll want to!
You can do a plank almost anywhere.
So I wouldn't forget, I did my plank every morning before leaving for work. Beyond the walls of my gym, I started to notice people planking in unexpected places, like at the park when out for my morning run, and even at work! Doing a plank requires very little equipment (maybe a mat) and no equipment if the floor is clean.
It was simple but rewarding.
There was more positive value in adding a simple exercise to my morning routine than there was actual time spent doing it.
I could feel the difference.
By the end of the week, I was feeling stronger in my workouts, which I do four to five times a week. I became more aware of my core and could recognise when and how I was using my newfound strength. I felt mental benefits, too! There's something relaxing about the idea of spending one minute of your day, every day, solely focussed on a single activity.
Small goals matter too.
It is all too easy to get caught up in the idea that our goals need to be big, that they need to be a journey full of big strides. So it's helpful to remember that those big goals are actually reached one (sometimes small) step at a time. This challenge was not only a physical and mental boost, it was also a lesson to not undervalue my accomplishments.
Since completing the one-week challenge, I've decided to add planking to my daily routine. While I've increased my holding time to two minutes in order to continue challenging myself, I'm most excited about this being a lifestyle change rather than a short-term challenge, not to mention all the positive benefits ahead.