My Java Journal

Plank Challenge: An Offering During Your Isolation

COVID-19 has us locked down. Not quite dystopian, but the restrictions are tangible. Still, I can’t help but take solace in the timing of this pandemic; and how well those I observe daily are adapting and coping.

Fortunately, with spring taking hold, there is a natural tendency to feel invigorated, alive with the flowering of the season. If we were in late autumn, there would be a darker tone to our collective outlook. It is harder to feel forlorn when waking every morning to the sound of birds and the slow dawning of warmer days; the latter which are displaying their vibrancy through some amazing sunrises and the blossoming of trees.

If, instead, it was the autumn foreshadowing winter, I think we’d be challenged to find silver linings. As it is, I am glad for the timing of this pandemic; it could be much worse.

This week I want to share my pleasure in my kids’ composure during this time, and how well they’ve adapted and how mature they’ve been with this loss of freedom. It is difficult to acknowledge that a situation is out of ones control; this is their first truly impactful experience with this scope of loss of control. I will then finish this post by presenting you with a challenge to help during this trying period of isolation. Goals are important and can provide focus. The establishment of routine becomes so much more important when one’s daily structure has disappeared.

My Kids

I am very pleased, and slightly surprised by how well my kids have accepted and adapted to this new reality. Now, I know I am luckier than many as my children are older and mostly self-sufficient. I am able also to explain to them the realities. With younger kids this is no doubt much harder, when explaining things, and rationalizing the situation, isn’t so easy.

After more than a week without actual, physical contact with their friends things are going well. My oldest on Friday joked that she had painted every blank wooden surface she could find. This is true. My youngest has taken to being quite dedicated to her diet and exercise regimen. Both are finding connection through social media and technology. So too, each has adopted a routine of their own.

My oldest is, as mentioned, painting, but also reading; which I am so happy to see. My youngest is not actually dieting, just trying really hard to make good choices with each meal. Both are staying active though.

They’ve found their respective routines. This is encouraging. As a family, we’ve taken to scheduling special Friday night family meals – so as to have something to look forward to and break up the long weeks of isolation. Everyone is walking more, and on the less accommodating days the treadmill is getting much more use than usual. Routine and distraction are definitely helping. It is nice that it is not only screen-time and Netflix.

I want to offer something with this post. My youngest daughter sought, accepted, and is adhering to a workout plan I created for her. It is a simple one, but an effective one. One of the primary exercises I gave her is the plank. The goal I set for her stresses two things:

  1. Slow and steady progression. (There is no rush and no sense hitting it so hard that it is not enjoyable)
  2. Only worrying about doing better than yourself each day.

I offered her the same plank challenge that I have used, and continue to use to break my plateaus, or after longer periods of inactivity – these do occur occasionally. The 30-day plank challenge takes you from a 10-second plank to a 5-minute plank in 30 days. It works. The beauty of this challenge is that even if you fall short, so long as you do better than yourself each day, you are still progressing and getting stronger.

The 30-Day Plank Challenge

This is a very simple challenge to begin. It gets harder as you progress. Here is it:

On day one, start with a 10-second plank. Each day thereafter add 10 seconds. After 30 days you’ll be planking for 300-seconds, or 5-minutes. That’s it.

Even if after day one, and that first 10-second plank, you can only add 5-seconds each day, you’ll still make a 2.5-minute plank in the 30 days. I’d suggest that 2.5-minutes is a very respectable plank. If you keep at it you will only get stronger. The core muscles are so important to everything we do. Whenever I need a kick-starter, this is it.

The key here is to do it every day for 30 days and just focus on doing better than you did the day before, and enjoying that amazing feeling of commitment and gain. You will feel incredible.

There are variations to this challenge, but this offering is simple and straightforward.

If you start with only this, and of course walking, always walking, you have no choice but to become healthier in body and mind, and it will lift your spirits.


If you do begin the challenge, please, let me know.

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