3 Exercises to Strengthen Your Core

Benefits That Exercise Has on Our Bodies

Improvement of brain function – Exercise increases your heart rate, which improves blood flow to the brain helping it function better and improving memory. Harvard studies have found that the hippocampus (the part of the brain associated with learning and memory) increases with exercise. Simply doing 30 minutes of reasonable exercise a day helps prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Better and deeper sleep – Sleeping well is crucial to our health and exercise helps us get quality sleep. People who exercise only 30 minutes per day have 65% more quality and deeper sleep than those who do not. Exercise de-stresses our body and allows us to fall asleep faster and easier.

Improves happiness – The brain releases endorphins, which block feelings of pain or fear. As opposed to being in a dangerous situation, the endorphins your body releases whilst doing exercise is similar to a feeling of euphoria. If you want to keep this feeling of euphoria, you need to do at least 20 minutes of exercise a day, as many days a week possible.

The Benefits of Strengthening Your Core

It prevents lower back-pain – Increasing core strength improves mobility in the thighs, hips, glutes and back. This helps prevent back pain and aches. Exercises that strengthen the core also make people more mindful of keeping a straight spine because routines require this and it becomes reflex after time. Keeping a straight spine helps with everyday situations, such as lifting boxes, sitting at desks correctly or gardening; avoiding more back pain the future.

It develops a slimmer waistline – If you have a proper routine, intensity and exercise selection, strengthening your core will help you develop a slimmer waistline.

It improves posture – Strengthening your core will not only help with back pains and aches, it will also help your overall posture. Doing exercises and training for your core will correct bad posture. It helps distribute weight evenly throughout the body.

Easier and better breathing – According to a study, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, developing stronger breathing muscles (diagraph and intercostal) improves core strength. They go hand and hand.  A stronger core will encourage stronger and easier breathing.

It improves sports performance – Sports such as soccer, football, baseball or tennis produce a lot of force in your limbs. To produce this force, your body has to be strong and capable. The spine has to be neutral and the core stabilized. Core strengthening exercises will help your body accomplish these sports pre-requisites. Also, core exercises will help your body be ready for long hours of training and sports.

3 Exercises That Are Perfect for Strengthening Your Core

This exercise is a must-have if you goal is core strength or an effective ab work out. The plank position involves very little movement but a lot of effort. As you rest on your elbows and toes, keep your back as straight as possible, forming a plank. Depending on your desire of intensity, you can hold this position for thirty to sixty seconds. Repeat these three times with minimal resting time. You can do this exercise various times throughout the day for maximum abdominal muscles and core workout.

A variation of the plank exercise is the side plank. Lie on your left side with legs straight, then prop yourself up with your left elbow and forearm, forming a diagonal line with your body. Rest your right hand on your right hip. Flex your abs and hold this position for 60 seconds. Your hips and knees should not touch the floor and your body should be straight. Switch sides and repeat the same exercise laying on your right side.

Dead bug
Don’t be fooled by the strange name of this exercise, it works. Lie flat on your back, arms extended straight up, legs raised, with knees bent at 90°. Lower your left arm and right leg simultaneously until they are hovering just above the ground (not touching the ground) then return to starting position (arms extended and legs raised). Repeat this with opposite limbs. Keep you back straight while doing this exercise and your movements slow and controlled.

Reverse Crunches
They are easier than other core and ab related exercises, but don’t underestimate them. Throughout this exercise it important to keep your core tight and tense. Lie on your back with your knees together and bend your legs to a 90 degree angel then plant your feet on the ground. Lift your hips off the floor as your crunch your knees inward toward your chest, tightening your core muscles. Pause for a moment at the top, then lower your body back down. Do not arch your back or lose contact with the floor. This exercise improves stability throughout the lower back, spine and hips.

Depending on your desire of intensity, goals and strength, you can repeat these exercises various times throughout the day or week. The point is to stay active and continue working the core and ab muscles to see improvement. Stay healthy and have fun achieving your goals!

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