A lot of people think that developing good core strength is something bodybuilders and models do. That may be true, but the truth is that core strength is for everyone. It’s one of the very best things you can do for your body as a whole, and its benefits are many. Here are five of the best arguments for making core strength a priority in your life.
1. Minimize or eliminate back pain
Chronic back pain is an epidemic in this country. Most adults deal with it at some point in their lives, and some of us never get rid of it. We could say a lot about the reasons why there is so much chronic back pain in the world today, but the prevalence of office jobs is definitely a part of it. What many people don’t know is that strengthening your core is the best way to improve your posture and take the pressure off your back muscles. When your back and torso have strong support from both the front and back, chronic back pain becomes a distant memory.
2. Protect against injury
A strong core is essential for physical balance in daily life. If you think about it, injuries from lack of balance occur in all kinds of settings, from playing sports to preparing a meal in the kitchen. There are also injuries that occur over time, such back pain from slouching over a desk all day. Sitting, twisting, reaching, bending, lifting – everything becomes safer and more efficient when you have a strong core.
3. Feel great in a t-shirt
When people think about getting “ripped” or in shape, they often focus on the arms and chest. But a strong core really is the basis of it all. Developing your core allows you to gain strength and muscle more evenly in other areas of the body. It also means you’ll feel great every time you slip on a t-shirt!
4. Improve digestion
A poorly developed core, especially when coupled with poor posture for hours every day, can have real effects on the digestive system. Strengthening and stretching those abs has an overall balancing and fortifying effect on the body, and allows your digestive system to function more freely and optimally.
5. Breath easy
The breath is a highly underrated aspect of health and wellbeing. We often forget about the breath, but when we strengthen the core, we notice marked improvement in the movement of breath and the oxygenation of the body. The diaphragm, which is located at the upper part of the core, is an important aspect of breathing deeply. A strong core means the diaphragm is also stronger and freer, which leads to better breathing habits.
How do I develop core strength?
This is the million-dollar question, and there are a lot of different answers out there. One thing that more and more experts agree on these days is that mechanized and isolated exercises (such as doing endless reps on a crunch machine) are not the most effective path to strong and functional core. It’s much more effective or beneficial to train your core with functional movements that melt fat and built muscle while strengthening balance and improving range of motion. There are some reputable functional fitness gyms out there, plus activities like yoga and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, that go a long way toward strengthening your core the right way – and the best part is, they’re not boring!