A healthy life starts with a strong body! The best way to get it is a great topic of debate, but a good place to start is by implementing core exercises to strengthen the center of your body — benefiting…well, everything 🙂
What is your Core?
A lot of people hear the term “core” and automatically think “abs,” short for abdominals, which is a series of muscles underneath and to the sides of your belly. And yes, they are famous! Who hasn’t seen, dreamed of or if they have it, flaunted their rock hard abs? We all fall somewhere along this spectrum from flabby to firm and actually, we all know right off the bat exactly where we land 😉 Love ’em or hate ’em, we all have ’em! But there is much more to a strong core than the aesthetics of a trim waist line. A strong core really represents all the muscles on your trunk, front and back. Here is a nice little pic from the Mayo Clinic. As you think about improving strength, it helps to have an understanding of specifically what you are working on and what you are trying to do. It will let you move with focused intention, verses just moving.
Other than the obvious “flat stomach” why else is a strong core important?
A lot reasons! If you think of the core as your trunk, what would a tree be like with a weak core? Picture a giant oak tree, with a flimsy, flabby trunk. How tall could the branches reach? How long could it stand against the storms? How well could it support the little kiddos who climb up it, build tree houses and swing from branches? I know, it’s kind of a goofy analogy. But really, a weak core will limit how strong you get, make you more susceptible to injury and negatively impact how well you can support others. A strong core will help you with balance and stability, improve your posture, and protect you from lower back pain and muscle injuries.
Core Exercises are Excuse Free
You’ve heard me say it before and you’ll hear me say it again. I’m an advocate for fitness and always on the lookout for exercises that benefit everybody and are excuse free. Meaning no fancy equipment required. No gym membership or personal trainer. Most core exercises can be done on a mat and work against your body weight. You can drop just about anywhere and get in your exercises in to strengthen your core. And you can do it in a relatively short amount of time. Of course, as you progress and spend time in the gym, you will see there are machines that will let you work against weight. That’s kind of cool, because you can measure your strength improvement, but that is not necessary to get started!
What are some Basic Core Exercises?
On June 1, we launched the 30 Day Abs Challenge through the 30 Day Challenge Series on FaceBook — with the focus on strengthening the front section of your core. And good news, we have over 1200 signed up! Check our this quick video tutorial for 6 easy core exercises you can do for 30 days to see a dramatic impact in the front section of your core. It should move you well along that Flabby to Flat Abs spectrum! In addition to strengthening your abs, you don’t want to forget about the back side of your core in your lower back, the antagonist muscle group, the erector spinae. Check out 7 easy stretches and exercises from the Mayo Clinic and be sure to incorporate these regularly as well. This will help significantly as you work to improve physique and avoid any injury. We also teach a “Fusion Bootcamp” class that focuses on core exercise. This is an hour workout, where you can pick and choose exercises based on your time frame. Click here to check that plan out.
If I only have 5 min a day, what should I do?
Do the 30 Day Abs Challenge and add at least one lower back core exercise. To get access to the 30 Day Challenge Tracker – click here to join the community. I happen to love the Superman exercise. See below for quick image and check out this quick post from FitSugar explaining how and why to do them.
So there you have it. Just a quick overview on why you want a strong core, and how to move along that spectrum! The benefits of core exercises are plentiful when you think about injury prevention, improved posture, increased strength and the beauty of a trim tummy!
What are some of your favorite core exercise? Why do you do them?
We Can Do this!