How to do ‘the flamingo’ – the secret to strengthening your core


Fitness experts say 15 minutes a day of standing on one foot could help build that elusive six-pack. And if youre not used to doing it, the added brain strain will burn even more calories

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. That is the advice of personal trainer Nadya Fairweather, who has suggested standing on one foot, then outstretching 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.

The perfect flamingo pose. Photograph: Wayne Lynch/Getty Images/All Canada Photos

“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.”

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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