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  • Writer's pictureGregory D. Hamilton

"Unleashing Your Inner Champion: Finding Fitness Inspiration from a World Record Holder"



Gaining Plank-spiration from a 58-year-old World Record Holder


DonnaJean Wilde, a 58-year-old retired educator, made headlines recently when she set a world record for abdominal planking by a woman.


She received official recognition from the Guinness World Record folks for holding a plank for 4 hours, 30 minutes, and 11 seconds in Magrath, a town in Alberta, Canada. That was 10 minutes longer than the previous record, set in 2019, Guinness says on its website.


“The challenger’s forearms and toes must touch the ground at all times,” Guinness explains. “The remainder of the body must be lifted off the ground and be kept straight throughout.”


Wilde says she has long suffered chronic pain in her hands and arms. She came to love planking after she broke her wrist and was limited in her activities.


During training, she would read, watch movies – and even complete the work to earn a master’s degree, Guinness says.


You can watch a video on DonnaJean’s achievement on YouTube.


The male record is held by former Marine George Hood, who planked for 8 hours, 15 minutes, and 15 seconds a few years ago at age 62.


Very fit will struggle to hold a plank for more than a few minutes. And good news: You don’t have to! The plank is great for core training, posture, gait, balance, and more, can be done anywhere, and has many variations.


“Anybody can do what I do,” George told the media after reclaiming his title. “Everybody has to start somewhere.”


The Plank 101


It’s safe for people over 50 – as DonnaJean and George prove. “This is probably the best exercise you’ll ever do,” AARP blogger Barbara Hannah Grufferman wrote.


Research shows the benefits of regular planking.


It helps your midsection without the strain of crunches. And it works more than just the abs, targeting the entire core, which wraps around us and stabilizes our bodies while doing everyday tasks. Stability and balance are essential for functional fitness.


When you’re in the plank position, you’re working just about every muscle in your body. The focus is on the core and abs. But you’re also using your legs, arms, and back to stay in place.


Here’s the basic idea. Start by lying face down on an exercise mat. Keep the elbows close to your sides, the palms facing down, and the fingers facing forward. Lift, keep your body straight, and put your weight on your elbows and feet.


Engage those core muscles and hold on.


Aim for 30 seconds at first. Rest a minute. Try for three rounds of that to start, a few times a week. You’ll be amazed at how fast you advance.


Motivation for Everyone

 

Let DonnaJean and George serve as inspiration, no matter what your goals are.

 

“Keep trying and keep practicing,” she told Guinness. “I still can’t believe it. It feels like a dream.”

 

Dreams come true at any age. Let’s bring yours to life, contact me to get started.

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