Ever wondered why almost every workout program now talks about engaging your core? The basic premise is to rope in your midsection, not for the sake of fab abs, but for a stronger and healthier spine, and to create a powerhouse that connects the upper and lower body.
Acquiring core strength is an asset that is being reiterated by health experts, fitness trainers and doctors for its many benefits. But, before you assume it’s all about your abdominals, here’s what you need to know:
Mapping The Core
It is a vast, yet very complex set of muscles that include not just your abs, but extensions that link to all other parts of your upper and lower body, barring your arms and legs. The core serves as a home to the body’s central nervous system and internal organs. Is it any surprise then that every movement your body makes is controlled by your core? Doesn’t that make it imperative to work and engage the area, in order to keep it in prime shape?
The Core Benefits
- One of the best perks is that it prevents injury. A strong core supports the spine, which improves one’s sense of balance and independence from relying on our bones to support the burden of our body weight. Technically, most movements start from the center of the body and move outward, so the stronger our center, the more precise and painless our movements.
- Back pain, a very common condition limiting the lives of people can be banished if we balance out our bodies with a strong core. The reason people experience the pain in the first place is because there is a very obvious imbalance between the front and backside of the body—the back is sturdy and the core is weak. In the long run, a weak core starts compressing disks in the spine which leads to unbearable pain.
- Good posture is another advantage of having a powerful core. Naturally, a well-built core will lengthen and strengthen your spine, preventing any sort of slouching or hunching. And then the chest is lifted and shoulders are pushed back, that leads to a nice and open cavity to breathe much more deeply, reducing stress and inducing relaxation.
- The digestive system also improves greatly when the core is strong. A weak core does not allow the internal organs to expand, which eventually creates terrible digestion problems. The body becomes incapable of breaking down food effectively, develops a slow metabolic rate, and isn’t able to cleanse and detoxify thoroughly. This could also lead to weight gain.
- Finally, heart health is guaranteed with a well maintained core. When we start accumulating fat around our middles, it isn’t just visually unappealing. Internally, a portion of this fat settles in between vital organs such as the liver and the abdominal wall. This poses a direct threat to our heart.
If you thought that core training was just a small part of the larger picture, a blip on the otherwise extensive exercise chart, you, like many others, have miscalculated its importance. The good part however, is that almost every workout program—yoga, Pilates, HIIT, CrossFit, zumba, Tabata, jazzercise—has multiple core training moves, so take your pick, the rest will follow.
PS: Here’s the low-down on Exercise Programs For Weight Loss.
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