Core Exercise for Well-Rounded Adult Fitness
Ever complained of your lower back hurting? How many times have you looked in the mirror and thought you needed a better workout routine to burn the tummy fat that seems to be taking over?
Learn how core exercises can help.
If you're like most middle-aged and senior Americans, you probably do both of these things often.
Even if you are working out at home or going to a fitness center, are you working out the right muscle groups, or have you been neglecting to add the core muscles to your workout routine?
If you're ready to become a stronger and healthier version of yourself, then we'll walk you through key things you need to know about your core, why it's important to strengthen those muscles, exercises to help you get stronger, and more!
What Is Your Core?
When people say "core," what exactly do they mean? What is your core?
Your core is the middle part of your body, where most of your vital organs are. This includes:
- Your pelvic area and hips
- Your lower back
- Your stomach
- Your obliques
- The spine
While you may not think that glutes are part of your core since they are always referred to as separate, they are part of strengthening the core as they help with hip rotation and flexibility.
You may be more familiar with the words "abs." However, that doesn't reflect everything that your core is. It is only talking about your stomach muscles.
When it comes to your core, you are talking about all of the muscle groups above. You want these muscles to work in harmony with one another to make you stronger. Not only will you be stronger if you strengthen your core, but it also brings a lot of other benefits to your daily life.
The Importance of Having a Healthy Core
Having a healthy core is more than having abs. As great as having abs would be and as good as it would look, there is much more to it than just having abs. This is why having healthy lifestyle education is also important - so you learn more about how to keep yourself healthy!
Here are a few of the benefits of having a healthy core.
Makes Most Activities Easier
The stronger you are, the easier things get. This is especially true when it comes to strengthening your core.
This is especially important for athletes like runners and golfers. If you have a stronger core, you have an easier time swinging the club with less fatigue over time. As a runner, a strong core keeps you standing up straight to keep the right posture over long distances.
Having a strong core not only makes most activities easier but can also help prevent injuries as well.
Let's take being a runner, for example.
If you don't have a strong core, your posture is going to be off. Weak core muscles will allow you to get tired faster, causing you to run incorrectly or with a bad running gait. When this happens, it's easy to accidentally injure yourself from fatigue.
Even if you are not an athlete, having a weak core can also cause injuries. The weaker your core, the worse off your posture will be. Poor posture can lead to lower back pain and other muscle injuries over time.
If you try to do yoga and you realize you are falling over on almost every pose, you probably don't have a strong core. One good thing about that is that you're doing something that will help - yoga!
Yoga helps improve your balance because it is building your core at the same time.
The improved balance will reduce your risk of falls, tripping, or other things that can lead to injury.
Core-Strengthening Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
The best thing about core exercise is that you don't need much to do the exercises. While you may want to make it harder with added weights or some equipment, you don't need to! And sometimes, using body weight is the best thing you can do for yourself!
Here are exercises you have to start adding to your routine to strengthen your core!
While this exercise seems pretty simple, it can be a really tough one! The good thing is that you can modify the exercise based on your experience level with core exercises.
How to Do It
To do this exercise, you need to lie on your back with your legs at 45 degrees. Use your core to tuck your muscles in and lift your back off the ground about 45 degrees. Your arms can either be by your legs or, for more difficulty, bring them above your head.
Planking is another great exercise to build core strength that will help with everything that you do. This will work not only your core but your legs as well as your arms because you are holding yourself up.
How to Do It
To do this, place your arms shoulder-width apart. Same with your legs. You'll be in a pushup position.
Tuck your legs and butt in, as this helps keep your position in the plank.
Be sure to avoid sticking your butt up in the air or dropping your stomach to arch your back!
This is a great core exercise to work your lower abs and stomach muscles as well as your hip flexors. It hits different muscle groups in one!
How to Do It
To do leg raises correctly, lay on the ground. Bring your legs up to a 90-degree angle.
Tucking your stomach in and pushing your belly button to the floor, slowly lower your legs without letting your back come off of the ground. Then, bring them back up slowly.
Pro tip: Breathe in on the way down and out on the way up to make the exercise easier.
Exercises to Try at the Gym
Some exercises you can't always do at home because of a lack of equipment. If you have a gym membership, these are great exercises to do. If you don't, the other core-strengthening exercises will get the job done as well!
The cable machine is for much more than just your arms and that muscle group! They can also target your core and abs.
Here are a few exercises to try on the machine:
- Hanging knee raises - Hold onto the bars that are on this machine and lift your knees up by using your core muscles (do not swing!)
- Ab pull-downs - hold onto the cables and crunch down while standing, keeping your core muscles tight and pulling your belly button in
The rowing machine is for much more than just rowing!
You can use the rowing machine for knee tucks. To do this, you can get into a plank position with your feet on the seat of the rowing machine. Then, pull your knees close to your chest, bringing the weight of the machine's resistance with you.
This will make your core burn - in a good way!
On the pullup bar, you can exercise your core just as much as you can your abs, too! You can use this to do several different things:
- Leg raises in a pike position
- Knee tucks
- Knee tuck to pike position and repeat
These three different exercises will work different parts of your core. You may also notice it in your hip flexors - this is a great strengthening exercise for that part of your body!
Add Core Exercise To Your Daily Routine
Focussing on core exercise can be helpful in more ways than one.
If you neglect your core muscles, you are putting yourself at risk for bad posture, being more prone to injuries, worse balance, and much more.
The good news is that by adding just a few core-strengthening exercises to your routine, you can improve your core strength and reap the benefits of doing so! You can try out some of these exercises (or all of them!) and pick your favorite ones to keep doing on your own or with a personal trainer.
For additional help pursuing a healthier lifestyle, consider our blog Your Healthy Life Concierge.
Jay Todtenbier is an original founder of SupplementRelief.com in 2010 and has operated the business ever since. He is also a tennis instructor and gospel musician. Formerly he spent 25 years in business development, technology and marketing with startups and major corporations having gone through the tech boom in Silicon Valley in the 90s. He became passionate about, and began studying and practicing Wellness as a Lifestyle after experiencing chronic, personal health challenges including depression, auto-immune disorders, and being overweight that impacted his ability to live a healthy, vibrant life. Since then, he has been an advocate for healthier living encouraging others to live better through making small, gradual changes to lifestyle behaviors relating to whole-foods nutrition, stress management, reasonable exercise, proper sleep, and the use of targeted, high-quality supplements.
Learn more about Jay Todtenbier.
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The information, knowledge, and experience shared on this website is the opinion of SupplementRelief.com. This site and its content is intended to enhance your knowledge base as YOU MAKE YOUR OWN HEALTHCARE DECISIONS in partnership with your qualified health professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products referred to are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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