Call me crazy, but I love working on strengthening the core. We all have one. We all use one. We all need a strong one. And if you DO decide to call me crazy, you won’t be the first – or the last. So let’s talk about what kind of fun we can have with this “core-thing.”
Prior to the last 8-10 years, I didn’t hear much about core. (Or maybe I just wasn’t a good listener…) Either way, I just did exercises for my stomach muscles. And sometimes I worked on my back, if I thought about it or if an appropriate exercise machine was handy. But that’s not enough, folks.
It is clear that our bodies have a tendency to collapse inward if we don’t do something to fight gravity and poor posture. Think about how you sit when you’re relaxed, or at your desk, or playing with your phone. Back curled? Shoulders slumping? Hips at a 90 degree angle? That’s your body folding into itself. Core exercises help us OPEN UP and STRENGTHEN our bodies – resisting that collapse. Pull your shoulders back and those blades down, hold your spine erect, open up your hips. Yeah…. That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout!
Here’s some benefits of core exercises, as provided by the Mayo Clinic.
· Your balance and stability is improved by strengthening the muscles that stabilize the spine, hips, stomach area.
· Specialized equipment or gym membership is not required.
· Your abs get toned in the process!
· Daily life functions become easier when you can best use your back, move your arms, and navigate various movements.
· Fitness goals are easier to reach when your midsection cooperates with you. The stronger it is, the better you can use the rest of your body. This means more activities! Walking, running, stepping, rowing, hiking, biking, you name it.
One of my favorite core exercises is the plank. Try it – you’ll like it! And oh my, there are so many variations you can do. If you want to get really crazy… (see? you’re crazy too – it’s not just me!) Try some planks on your own. If you’re a “see it, then do it” person, here’s a Plank School video from ACE Fitness, a universal leader in personal training certifications. Or, if that’s not enough, check out this weblink – it’s chock full of even more fun variations. BUT! Please do what is best for YOUR body. You are your own best advocate. So try only the movements that you know you are strong enough to do. ;)
Exercise doesn’t get any easier - or if it does, you need to mix things up. Rest assured, with each workout, you are always getting stronger. So try something new. Or, do something old - but do it more often, or longer, or in a different way. Just keep at it. And keep strengthening that core. Your body with thank you!
Real. Positive. Change. - Judi