By Jim Nelson | November 22, 2023
Happy Planksgiving! That’s a new phrase that, who knows, may turn into a part of our seasonal lexicon.
What is Planksgiving? Well, it got its start at Friendship Village, a life-plan retirement community that has, for more than 45 years, been providing Chicago-area seniors independent-living, assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing care, and short-term rehabilitation services.
Why Planksgiving? Well, simply put, planks are the best for strengthening your core and abdomen, but they also strengthen your hips and lower back, and improve your body balance and flexibility, posture, and coordination, and they can help alleviate back pain. The four most important muscle groups that constitute our core are strengthened by planks. They can even help improve our metabolism. Planks can be done by anyone who wants to reduce belly fat and get a tighter midsection, and they are done by athletes of all kinds, including this distance-running writer.
And because planks are isometric, meaning they’re mainly about improving strength and they don’t need movement, planks can be “done during injuries,” says Dr. Siddharth Gupta, M.D.
And now, Planksgiving is a thing at Friendship Village of Schaumburg, roughly 30 miles northeast of downtown Chicago, beginning earlier this week.
The lifestyles team at Friendship Village introduced Planksgiving by identifying three levels of difficulty for women and for men, and then challenging residents to hold the plank position the longest; there were prizes in each category.
Fourteen residents competed, with the overall winner, resident Thelma Laulhata, holding her plank for just under eight minutes! Two of the competitors, Velma Robinson and Mary E. Kelly, are 96.
“I encouraged residents to participate in the Planksgiving challenge to get them out of their comfort zone and try something new,” said Kayla Jewel, fitness and wellness program specialist, in a press release. “Planks are a great core-strengthening exercise. They help improve mobility while also strengthening your arms, shoulders and back. A strong core plays a critical role in preventing injuries and improving the ability to complete everyday tasks. It was inspiring to see the residents do so well at this challenge!”
Happy Planksgiving, indeed!