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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 Dogs
While 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 Pose
Begin 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.

West Virginia State Fish: Brook Trout

Exercise: Standing Swimming Strokes
Stand tall with hips facing forward. Pretend you're doing the backstroke in the pool. Now pretend you're doing a front crawl. Now bend at the waist, put your arms in front of your head with your palms facing out and push forward, swinging your arms back behind you and then back to face position, like a breaststroke. 

West Virginia State Frog: Wood Frog

Exercise: Frog Hops
Sit back like you are going to sit in a chair with your feet in a wide stance and with your toes turned out at an angle. Hold your shoulders back and tighten your belly. Make sure your knees don’t go over your toes. Jump forward, coming down to land softly on your toes. Jump forward or backwards and see how high you can go!  

West Virginia State Insect: Honeybee

Exercise: Bent-Over Reverse Flys 
Holding your hands in loose fists, stand with knees slightly bent. Keeping your back flat, bend forward at your hip joint. Exhale and lift both arms to the side, keeping a light bend in the elbows and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then slowly lower your fists back toward the ground. Repeat.

West Virginia State Butterfly: Monarch Butterfly

Exercise: Jumping Jacks 
Start by standing with your legs spread and your hands touching overhead. Jump into the air, at the same time bringing your legs together and pull the arms down to your sides. Without resting, jump again and return to the starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds.

West Virginia Native Rabbit: Eastern Cottontail

Exercise: Bunny Hops
Crouch down into a low squat with feet together and hands clasped behind your head. Start on the balls of your feet with heels off the ground. Hop on the spot (or slightly forward) on the balls of both feet. Keep torso as upright as possible and land softly on the balls of your feet. Repeat.