From the burn of that last sit up to the soreness in our gut when we laugh, we have all felt the results of a core workout. Knowing how food and cardio really transform our midsection we have to ask, why spend the time and go through the pain? The phrase ‘abs are made in the kitchen’ has camouflaged the true benefits to a well rounded abdominal workout. Even if side planks and russian twists aren’t what give us that ending definition to our abs, we can’t overlook the overwhelming evidence of what core work really does.
- Posture Makes Perfect: In the gym, posture and form go hand in hand. Without the strength and endurance of our abs we would not be able to perform the most basic of movements with our body weight, let alone push or pull additional pounds. Taking it out of the gym, posture is key for everything; breathing patterns, injury prevention, proper digestion and circulation. We can’t escape the fact that many people are deskjockies; working day in and day out from a sedentary position. Adding poor posture to that daily routine of sitting will only bring on more neck pain, back problems, and headaches.
- Balance: Age plays many tricks on our bodies but one of the first things we notice is a change in our equilibrium (aka balance). There isn’t much to be done for the person known as a natural klutz but we can add stability to our lives by performing weekly abdominal exercises. We know that core workouts encourage better posture and with that comes better balance and stabilisation. With so much of our daily movement coming from our core (picking up something from the ground, getting off the couch, reaching for something on the top shelf) it only make sense that if we want more stability in those
movements we must have more structure, strength and endurance in our abs.
- Fat Facts: Our midsection houses many vital organs and stores two different types of fat. One type is called visceral (deep layer of fat surrounding the organs) and the other, subcutaneous (superficial layer that is closer to the skin). While diet and cardio help target the visceral type of fat, abdominal exercises can focus more on the subcutaneous layer. Incorporating a well rounded core workout helps shrink your midsection but also protects our health. Having less fat around our waist lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and type two diabetes.
- O.M.: Range of motion has been mostly associated with physical therapy or post injury care, but not any more. Being able to extend our legs fully, touch our toes and raise our arms over our head has become a new tracking measure from ages 16 to 90. Any movement done at full range starts with the core. A well designed abdominal workout will include a variety of different exercises that incorporates pulls and pushes from different planes such as: leg lifts, decline sit ups, wipers, russian twists, reverse crunch, and the woodchop. Proper joint care starts with mobility and flexibility in which both rely heavily on core strength and endurance.
- Functional Movement: If you feel as if you have been buying stock in ibuprofen just to get through a normal day, this benefit is for you. That twinge in
your back when picking up your child or the golf game you missed because you know how painful it will be later, these are the types of sacrifices we shouldn’t have to make. When you have a weak core these aches are magnified and stick around much longer. The term ‘functional movement’ refers to the ordinary moves our bodies make in order to complete a less strenuous action. Walking the dog, bending over to tie your shoe, swinging a golf club are all examples of functional movement. Adding in a well rounded core workout tailored to your favorite hobbies will allow you to participate with less pain and quicker recovery.
There are plenty ways to reach your abdominal goals, but sometimes they just don’t return results. Here are the top 4 reasons your ab workout isn’t working.
Please Note: Before following exercise routines or changing your fitness regime, please consult a certified fitness professional. Always talk with a medical practitioner before following dietary advice or taking supplements.