This super exercise works the abdominals and doesn't strain the back like sit ups - if done correctly.
Begin with both feet flat on the mat and knees bent. Put your hands on your lower abdominals. Lift one leg up into the air and check your tummy muscles don't bulge upwards.
Place the foot back down and repeat on the other leg.
When you know you can do this without the tummy bulging outwards, then keep the first leg in the air and try lifting the second leg up too!
Most people when they do this will feel the tummy bulge straight away. If you do, and you can't keep them pulled flat, this means your abdominals are not yet strong enough.
To make lifting the second leg easier, try bringing the foot in towards the bottom first, before lifting it.
The aim is to keep your abdominals flat as you lift the legs and to not let your back arch away from the floor.
Let me know how you get on!
Sometimes we just need to get simple, powerful information that we can use right away to begin improving our health/wellbeing.
Here are 3 things you can do today to start looking after your back and prolonging the life of your spine:
1) Don't twist and lift at the same time - this causes a huge amount of load on the disks and if it's a weak point of yours then this is likely to cause major problems! Instead face the object you're lifting, bend your knees and hinge from the hip to enable you to reach the floor.
2) Don't sit for more than 1/2hr at a time. Research shows that prolonged sitting is the worst offender for back pain, but also for lots of health issues such as increased risk of Diabetes, Stroke, High Blood Pressure, Depression and many more. So get up and move around as often as possible. If it is safe for you to do so (not with Spinal Stenosis or Spondylolysthesis) then do some back bending when you stand too....