West Virginia Workout
Welcome to the West Virginia Workout! This series of exercises — inspired by our state's most iconic critters, plants and landscape — will take your body through a series of motions that will increase your balance, improve flexibility and strengthen your muscles.
West Virginia State Animal: Black Bear
Exercise: Bear Crawl
Start on your hands and toes with knees just slightly off the ground. Engage your core — tighten your tummy — and try not to rock side to side. Crawl forward, backward and to side.
West Virginia State Bird: Cardinal
Exercise: Standing Bird DogsWhile standing upright — with a fitness partner, tree or walking stick if needed — extend one arm and the opposite leg. Tighten your tummy and keep your head, neck and spine in a straight line. Return to original starting position and repeat with your other arm and leg.
WV State Tree: Sugar Maple
Exercise: Tree PoseBegin by standing tall with your arms down. To help with balance, extend your arms out to either side. Bend one knee to the side and set your toes on the ground and your heel against your ankle. Lift your hands up to the sky. Hold this pose for a couple of breaths, then lower your arms and stand on both legs. Repeat on your opposite side.
As your balance increases and you are ready for a challenge, try placing your foot higher on your leg — just be careful to avoid pressing it against your knee.
West Virginia’s Mountain Range: The Appalachian Mountains
Exercise: Mountain Pose
Stand tall and strong like our West Virginia hills. It seems very simple, but this activity has several benefits and is a great foundation pose.
Stand tall with your toes touching and feet slightly apart, like a triangle. If it is more comfortable, you may keep your feet a few inches apart. Allow your body to gently sway back and forth. Slowly bring the swaying to a standstill. Stop with your weight balanced evenly on your feet. Press your shoulders back and straighten your arms beside your torso. Pull your head up to the sky and push your feet into the ground like roots. Feel the stretch through your whole body. Breathe deeply and hold this pose for a couple of breaths.