Your core is the literal center of your body. Having strong core muscles does more than look good at the beach: it also can affect your balance, your energy levels, and how you interact with many daily tasks you have to do. Needless to say that good core health is drastically important.
But how do you maintain a strong core?
There are a number of exercises and techniques that can help you keep your core strong and are also fun to do. They will encourage you to work out and can make your back feel better, your stomach flatter, and your shoulders more defined. Here are just a few of them.
Regular Core Exercises
It’s very easy to find dozens of different exercises online that will help you build your core muscles, often as part of larger groups of core workouts. For example, there are several different types of crunches that can help people with various body types, physical limitations, or goals outside of just core work. Bicycle crunches also work the legs, to name just one, and are often more fun than regular ones.
There are also a wide range of core exercises that can be done from a seated position and don’t put stress on the back. The Knee Fold Tuck is one of these, as is the Climber. In the case of the former, you don’t even have to do any repeated movements, just hold yourself where you are for several seconds and then release.
Planks are also a core exercise group that is very popular because they can be done alone fairly easily. Like the Knee Fold Tuck, planks have no repeated movements and build your core by forcing your body to engage the core muscles and then release them.
One way to get a diverse array of core exercises is to find a class that incorporates them into a more complete workout.
Why Don’t You Try Yoga?
Yoga is an excellent approach to increased core strength because so many of the poses incorporate that into their design.
From Boat Pose to Bridge Pose to Full Wheel, many of the poses, even the modified versions, end up giving you a great core workout. In cases such as Pigeon Pose, you may not even notice that when you exit the pose your stomach muscles release and you have been engaging them the whole time.
Many people are afraid to take a yoga class, often because they think they “don’t have the body for it.” In most cases, yoga classes are very accepting of people of all body types, and will help you safely do the exercises, providing modified versions if necessary, and encouraging you to do your best. It’s one of the better core improving strategies you can employ.
Trampolines and Rebounders
For most people, their center of gravity is in their torso, so exercises that improve balance also end up working the core muscles. That’s why trampolines and indoor rebounders can be such great pieces of equipment for this very purpose.
Stretched membrane devices like trampolines force the body to learn how to adjust itself in often subtle ways in order to get better jumps and land safely. Since, as previously mentioned, the center of gravity that is so important to balance is in the torso, that means that some of those subtle adjustments happen in the core muscles to better move the center of gravity where it needs to be.
Try spending several hours on a rebounder and see exactly how tired your abs are.
Make Sure You’re Enjoying Yourself
The best method for improving your core is the one that you do consistently. Crunches may be great for you, but if you’re not actually doing them, they won’t help you improve at all. Instead, you need to do the thing that you enjoy, that you’re looking forward to, so that you’ll keep it up even when it’s difficult.
Make sure that the techniques that you’re using are ones that are fun for you and don’t be ashamed to stop doing something you don’t like. There are plenty of ways to strengthen your core, do the one that you enjoy the best.