Core muscles are one of the most active muscle groups in the body. Whether you are typing, putting on your shoes, vacuuming or playing basketball, you are engaging your core muscles in some capacity. Because you use core muscles for so many activities, it is important to keep them strong and flexible. There are several specific benefits to maintaining a healthy core:
Strong back muscles. Many people suffer from debilitating low-back pain. A strong core can relieve the lower back from extra strain and pressure.
Improved balance and stability. A strong core stabilizes your whole body, increasing your range of motion and decreasing your risk of falling.
Good posture. Often overlooked, posture is an important factor in overall health. By standing tall, your core muscles can minimize wear on the spine and allow you to breathe more deeply.
Core fitness should be factored into any exercise plan. The plank pose is a popular and effective exercise that is great no matter what your fitness goals are.
To try the plank, get into a pushup position. Bend your elbows so your forearms are resting on the floor directly underneath your shoulders. Focus on creating a straight line with your body from head to toe, and try to hold the pose for as long as you can (if this is too challenging at first, you can try bending your knees). Many people struggle to hold a plank pose for 30 seconds on their first attempt, but, with regular practice, you should be able to hold the position for longer intervals. A good goal if you’re just getting started is to work up to a two-minute plank.
Once you are able to hold this position for two minutes, you can move on to more advanced versions of the plank pose, such as lifting an arm or leg, or resting your forearms on an exercise ball.
Photo Creidt: Alex Hughes