Strengthening your core muscles is the key to solving a lot of physical issues: back pain, balance, stability, diastasis recti (post-pregnancy belly), and other problems. It also makes you a better athlete, and develops better posture.
This exercise, deep abdominal bracing with march, is a great one to build that core stability and benefits people with back pain or with a weak core. It’s also a great introduction for those resolving to start working out in the New Year.
Begin lying on your back with knee bend and feet flat on floor. Find and feel your deep belly muscles by drawing your belly button down and in. Do not hold your breath and do not brace your stomach as if you are about to be punched. Once your deep abdominals are engaged, you can slowly lift one leg up like a march and lower down using your abdominals to control the motion. Alternate right and left legs.
You can advance this exercise by lying on a foam roller, which will create and unstable surface for you to balance on. Begin with fingers on the floor, then progress to balancing with hands on your stomach. Remember to only lift one leg at a time. Wiggling on the foam roller is okay, because it forces to to engage your muscles to maintain balance.