Day 15. Core Strength
The Science Behind Why Core Strength is Crucial for a Healthy Life
If you want to lose weight, improve your posture, and have better balance, there’s no better way to do it than through core strength. Nearly every movement you make, from walking across the street to bending down to pick something up, depends on the strength of your core.
When you think about “core exercise”, your mind may leap to endless series of crunches or sit-ups. While these exercises do help strengthen your abdominals, they’re only one part of a healthy core. Your core includes just about every part of your body that isn’t your arms and legs. That means when you work out your core, you’re strengthening your abdominals (the muscles around your stomach), as well as your back muscles, and the muscles in your pelvis.
By making a point to build a stronger core, you’ll look better, feel better, and be able to carry out everyday tasks more easily. And by combining core exercises with the fat-burning, insulin-regulating benefits of high intensity interval training, you’ll make the most out of every workout.
Why Core Strength Matters
When you focus on strengthening your core, you...
• Have better balance
• Have less back pain
• Perform better at sports
• Have better posture
• Have a lower risk of injury while exercising
When you have a weak core, you...
• Tend to have lower back pain
• Tend to have poor balance
• Tend to have poor posture
• Are more likely to be injured while exercising
The Science Behind Core Strength
Core strength is important for everyone. If you suffer from lower back pain, though, it is life changing. According to a 2015 paper published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, core strength training is one of the most effective ways to get rid of back pain. The muscles in your core include the ones that support your spine. If these muscles are weak, they cannot give you enough support, leading to back pain. Fortunately, the cure is simple - build up a stronger core!1
Your core muscles are also crucial in making sure you exercise safely. These muscles work together to help you stay balanced and to distribute force evenly. If your core muscles are weak, you’re more likely to put high levels of stress on other muscles, leading to injury. Being sidelined by an injury for weeks (or months) can quickly stall your progress. If you want to keep working towards your goals, core strength is key.
Make it Happen
Are you ready to move your body, stay on track, and build a stronger core? Are you ready to commit to following your GetFit21 exercise plan to strengthen your core and improve your life?
The Challenge: Stick to the GetFit21 exercise plan. Push yourself to follow through on each day’s body weight exercise routine to build core strength.
Remember - for every moment of sweat and second you push yourself, you’re building a core that will carry you through whatever life throws your way. Whatever you sacrifice for a stronger core in the short term will pay off in the future.
Your Next Steps
1. Exercise Everywhere: The greatest benefit of bodyweight core exercises is that you can do them just about anywhere. It also means you don’t have any excuses not to work out. The next time you’re standing at the stove, waiting in line at the bank, or talking on the phone, practice standing on one leg. As you lift your leg, feel how your abdominal muscles tighten. Count to ten, then repeat on the other leg. Small movements like these add up over time, giving you better balance and a stronger core.
2. Practice Posture: Stand in front of a mirror and really look at how you’re standing. Are your ears over your shoulders? Are your shoulders over your hips? Are your hips over your knees? Practice keeping everything in alignment. As you do, focus on tightening your abdomen. This exercise not only helps you learn what correct posture looks and feels like, it also helps to strengthen the amount of support your spine has. This can take pressure off your bones and nerves, reducing back pain.
3. Ask for Help: Not sure about a certain core exercise? Curious about how you can make the most of your workouts? Ask your coach for additional guidance. Send them a private message or post your question in the group. Not only will you receive information that will help you build a stronger, healthier core, you may even ask something that one of your group-mates was also wondering about.
1. Chang, W.-D., Lin, H.-Y., & Lai, P.-T. (2015). Core strength training for patients with chronic low back pain. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 27(3), 619–622. http://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.27.619
Think Long Term
Core strength isn’t just important during your GetFit21 challenge. It’s crucial as you continue to improve your fitness and work towards staying healthy as you age. Keep these tips in mind to keep your core going strong.
• Don’t stop! It may sound simple, but be sure to keep up with your core training even after you reach your goals. Maintaining core strength is just as important as building it, so don’t fall out of your exercise habit.
• Track your progress. How long can you hold a plank right now? Can you hold one at all? It’s okay if you can’t. Test yourself and see where you’re at. Test yourself again in a month. You’ll be shocked at how far you’ve come. Imagine where you’ll be a year from now. Keep tracking your progress to watch your abilities grow.
• Watch your diet. Your diet will continue to be important as you work on improving your core strength. Choose healthy, high protein foods and continue to reduce your intake of sugar and unhealthy fats to make the most of the effort you’re putting into working out.
• Keep it interesting. Check out new ways to challenge yourself and build core strength. You can find plenty of workout videos online that will help you experiment. Try a pilates or yoga video if you’ve never done one before. Keep it fresh and interesting to keep your enthusiasm going strong.