Whether you’re a ‘five workouts a week’ kind of person, a ‘take the stairs’ type, or a ‘running after my kids is my cardio’ parent, you probably know you should stay active and take care of your body. After all, you only get one!
Building your core strength, and properly engaging your core will benefit many—if not all!—aspects of your fitness path. Building it, and properly engaging it, will pay off. And yes, you can do it!
Why is core strength so important?
1. Less pain, more gain
Research shows that core stability exercises are more effective in reducing chronic lower back pain than general exercise. If you’ve ever caught yourself marveling at how sore your back is, this note is for you. Practice by pushing your shoulders back, tucking your ribs, and aligning the trunk of the body in a straight line (minus the natural curve of your spine, of course).
2. It’s a balancing act
Without a strong core, you’ll be wobbling all over the place in yoga class or during balancing movements. Building your core strength means getting your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abs to work together as a team… meaning less wobbling, and more grounded movements. Practice next time you’re waiting in line at the smoothie bar!
3. Straighten up!
As you build up strength in your abs, back, and pelvis, you’re more likely to keep your core engaged, which means your posture is likely to improve! You might even find that a heightened awareness of your core will impact the quality of your posture during workouts and during day-to-day life.
4. Accident-prone? Prevent injuries
By developing a strong core, you’re less likely to compensate for weakness with other parts of your body, which experts say is one the most likely ways people get injured when exercising. You want your strong core to work as the foundation for the movements and as the base for overall strength development.
5. Build, engage and benefit
You could almost call your core the secret ingredient to an active life! Running at soccer practice, carrying boxes in your next move and crushing a double black diamond on your next ski trip will all be easier and more successful when you’ve built up your core strength.
There’s more to core workouts than crunches
Old-school techniques might have you thinking you’ll be doing endless sit-ups to work on that core strength. Luckily, that’s not necessarily the case. Sure, crunches can be an effective tactic, but they come with a potential to lose form or strain your neck. Instead, moves like mountain climbers, dead bugs, and even bicep curls can be effective, low-risk tactics.
And never underestimate the value of a good plank! Mixing up your fitness routine with fit52 will help you learn (and keep!) good form, and diversity of movement will ensure you hit all the different regions of your core.
Regardless of your motivation or tactics, the core is the base of your fitness! It’s not just about toning your tummy (though if that’s your goal, get it!)—you could say that core strength is at the core of it all.