Fitness Tips

Paula Abdul Hates Sit-Ups, Too—Here’s What She Does To Keep Her Core Strong Instead

Zoe Weiner

Photo: Voltaren
For the entire 90 minutes that I spent watching Paula Abdul in Las Vegas last year, my jaw was on the floor. She sang, danced, and sprinted around the stage in a way that I have never seen in my life. One thing became abundantly clear: This lady likes to move.

But as she told me in a recent interview in honor of her partnership with Voltaren, thanks to stay-at-home orders and arthritis-induced joint pain, getting the type of movement she craves isn't as easy as it used to be. To stay motivated, she integrates tiny spurts of effort into her day. "The most important thing for me is that I incorporate movement every day," says Abdul. "Even if I'm binge-watching TV, if there's a commercial break, I mute it and turn on the music and dance or hop on my rowing machine. This way, I know that even if I'm getting in 10 minutes of movement a few times a day, I'm at least doing something."

To supplement her commercial break cardio sessions, Abdul also relies on some go-to moves to maintain her core strength. "I hate regular sit-ups because they hurt my neck, so I've learned every different way there is to do reverse sit-ups," she says. "I'll grab the foot of the couch and do leg-lift extensions and scissors, followed by some core stretches that involve contracting my core to press my belly button into the back of my spine and then releasing."

For Abdul, moving on the reg is critically important for keeping her arthritis at bay. "Movement is my body's best friend because it lubricates the joints," says Abdul. But on days when it gets the better of her, she relies on Voltaren Topical Pain Gel ($29) for relieving pain her feet, ankles, and knees. After decades as a performer pushing her body to its limits, Abdul has realized that giving it the movement it needs—even if it comes in two-minute, bite-sized bursts—is the ultimate way to keep it going.

For more dancer abs moves you can try at home, check out the video below. 

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