When you think of being physically fit, what comes to mind? Marathoners pounding the pavement mile after mile? A gymnast executing a perfect “10” on a floor routine? Guys in the gym lifting heavy dumbbells?
People’s definition of fitness may vary, but in general, fitness is your ability to perform physical tasks with ease. That includes running a 5K; carrying loaded grocery bags from your car; and even spending an afternoon walking 18 holes of golf without getting tired or out of breath — or being stiff and sore the next day.
Fitness starts with your core. The strength and resilience of your abdominal muscles impact your ability to do nearly every action performed in a typical day — e.g., getting out of bed, sitting at your desk, walking your dog.
A weak core can have a variety of consequences. First, it makes doing even mundane tasks more challenging because your core muscles aren’t strong. You may have back pain, or notice that you get fatigued more easily during activity. A weak center hurts your performance in the gym. It limits the amount of weight you’re able to lift because strength-building exercises all originate from your center. Further, a weak core can hinder your posture and ability to perform cardio exercise such as running and biking.
Your body’s core is the foundation for physical motion. When the muscles that comprise your center are strong, it is easier to move as well as have more power in your movements. Developed abdominals impact a task as simple as standing up from a chair and as complex as running and stretching to backhand a tennis ball to your opponent. A strong core is also a key element of stability, and can help reduce your risk of falling.
It means that you are better equipped to perform tasks that involve stretching, reaching and extending your body. Ever painted walls in your home? From crouching and bending to paint the trim; to using a roller to smooth paint in an up-and-down motion; to stretching to reach the highest corners of your room, your core stabilizes and supports you.
The accompanying resource lists more benefits of strengthening your core and includes five simple exercises to help you do so.