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THE TOUGH GEAR

December 6, 2010Read: John 16

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.“John 16:33

Who am I, Lance Armstrong? Well, as much as I’ve been on the bike, you’d think I was in the Tour de France (Well, minus the necessary aerobic capacity and superior conditioning, of course). But everyday, I jump on the bike and I start pedaling (Wait, did I mention my bike is stationary...and in the garage? Again, not important).

And even though I’m on a practice bike, I can feel that when I switch to the tougher gear, I go further. Change to an easier gear, I go nowhere. Isn’t that the way it is?

I recently read an article by Max Lucado where he cited a passage about the disciples following Jesus onto the boat. First Jesus, then the others. Sure, we all know what happened during the storm, but the getting on board part was also significant. Jesus first, the disciples followed, then came the rough waters.

Isn’t that the way it is? Life in the Tour de Faith means rough years in tough gears. But Heaven, by any other road, is not possible. And since we’d rather be on a tough road with Jesus than on an easy one without Him, I say we keep pedaling.

–J.P.

10-MINUTE WORKOUTS: Low Back and Core

It's a fact that as we age, our lower backs find it more difficult to keep up with our active-living endeavors. Frustratingly, even long bouts of sitting can leave you with an achy back. While some of this is inevitable, we can do our best to stall the aging process in this region with a short, targeted dose of preventative medicine.

By regularly targeting the deep, "core" muscles of your abs (transverse abdominis) and the long muscles of your back (erector spinae), you can strengthen your back to withstand the test(s) of time and bolster your ability to lead a more active lifestyle.

"If you want to work your low back and inner core to help protect and strengthen the muscles that protect your spine, do 10 minutes of Superman (low back work) and planks (core; transverse abdominis)," says Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS, founder of PrayFit.com.

THE WORKOUT

Superman: Lie on your stomach with your arms overhead (like superman would do) and with your legs straight. Raise your arms up off the ground until you feel tension in your low back, then lower your arms back to the floor. Then raise your legs off the floor, keeping them as straight as possible.

>> Alternate back and forth between your arms and legs for 30-60 seconds.

Plank: Rise up onto your elbows and toes, keeping your body in a straight line. Draw your navel into your spine as tight as possible and with your eyes focused on the floor.

>> Hold plank position for 30-60 seconds.

Each minute go from the superman into the plank without rest in-between until you reach the 10-minute mark.

>> PRAY-FITTER: Looking for more fitness tips? Visit the our new fitness section by clicking here.