Planks & Poker - My New Way to Cope

in #thealliance4 years ago

planks poker.jpg

source edited in LunaPic

Pre Covid-19 my weekly routine was going to Silver Sneakers fitness class at the YMCA three to five mornings a week. There there was line dance class on Tuesday mornings. And attending actual line dances on Thursday and Friday nights. And sometimes Saturday nights too.

Then there was our NBA watching time - we are avid Chicago Bulls fans (I know, not a winning team for a few years now, but hope springs eternal!)

My computer time was divided between blogging, playing online Texas Hold'em, and Splinterlands.

And we love to travel - exploring new places and restaurants.

So all of that is gone now, except for computer time. And that's adding up to too much time in the chair, shoulders bent over, fingers clicking on the keyboard.

I've taken up working out with exercise videos on YouTube but I just don't enjoy it as much as a real class with my friends. And I keep finding that my poker tournament schedule ends up interfering with when I had planned to work out. I'm finding it very easy to talk myself out of the exercising, lol.

Yesterday I had an epiphany - there's a lot of downtimes when playing poker. When you fold your hand you're basically waiting for others to finish the round. A plank only takes 60 seconds (if you can last that long!) and it's one of the best core exercises around.

Why are planks so good? Because they go deeper and tone your core. They hit all those hard to get muscles - the six-pack muscles as well as the internal and external obliques running up both sides of the middle from the ribs to the pelvis. That's really getting a bang for your buck of minutes spent.

The most important thing about the plank is the form. Don't let your hips sag down or your butt hike up in the air. Thus the name - plank - you're trying to keep your entire body straight as a plank while holding everything tight. And when you start shaking, which will kick in pretty quick, you know you're doing it right and getting the benefit.

The title picture at the beginning of the article features the perfect form but if you're not up to that kind of perfection yet you can start on your knees instead of your toes. You're better off to change your position and hold the form for the whole time instead of giving up and cheating on the time. You can also use the straight arm method to begin with and graduate to the bent arm position. This is called a yoga plank.

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And when you get that mastered and want a bigger challenge than even the forearm plank, you can alternate with sidearm planks.

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During an hour-long poker tournament, yesterday I was able to fit in five planks. And since I was in the mode of doing something instead of sitting in the chair passively I also got out my handheld weights and did some arm exercises. I did bicep curls and some tricep exercises as well. This morning I can tell in my abs that I actually did something useful!

And - just like that - I've changed my routine to combine something I like to do with something good for me. I feel a lot better about my computer time and even if my poker skills don't improve, maybe I'll gain a little core strength as a bonus!

What are YOU doing that has helped you to cope with the new house-bound reality today? I'm open to suggestions!

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