It’s About More than Washboard Abs: The all around benefits of core engagement

TDB Fitness Newsletter 3/27/2022

In this week’s newsletter we reframe our ideas about core fitness. How has our fitness industry shaped your relationship with your core?

Photo by MART PRODUCTION

Benefits of a Strong Core

Have you ever noticed that we tend to use shame as our inspiration to work out? Shame, and a strong dose of comparing ourselves to one another. This story is especially true in the case of core fitness. More so than just your abs, your “core” includes a group of muscles that support your spine and pelvis. However, our cultural narrative around core exercise typically includes the idealized vision of a flat stomach with a clearly-defined six pack — visible without flexing of course.

The problem is, every body is different. It’s unrealistic to believe a perfectly sculpted six-pack is attainable for everyone who is not a professional athlete. Also, your abs are only one part of your core. Focusing all your attention on your visible abs, leaves the rest of your core muscles neglected. Therefore, having a flat stomach doesn’t necessarily mean you have a strong core. And when we focus all of our fitness efforts on looks, we miss out on the benefits of living a holistically healthy lifestyle.

Here at TDBFit we like to find positive and constructive motivations for working out. Through our own fitness journeys we learned thinking about the ways a strong body will benefit our life just feels better than obsessing over how we look. Core strength is important for living a long, healthy life. Paying a balanced level of attention to all aspects of your core can benefit your life in subtle ways you may not even realize.

Basic life benefits of maintaining a strong core:
  • Your core muscles protect your most vital internal organs. The stronger your core muscles, the more protection those life-maintaining pieces of you receive.
  • Having a strong core reduces your risk of falling. Your core muscles literally keep you upright. With a strong core, you’re less likely to suffer dangerous falls as you get older.
  • Speaking of keeping you upright, a strong core contributes to better posture. When you practice keeping your core engaged throughout your workouts, you naturally do it more during your other activities. This leads to better posture. Better posture actually gives you more confidence while helping you avoid tension headaches, as well as pain in your neck and shoulders.
  • Having a strong core helps you avoid joint pain. When you are better able to hold yourself upright, you put less pressure on most of your joints. Less pressure on those joints now, means less pain in those joints as you get older.
  • Your core muscles assist you with lowering and lifting weight. Whether that’s your own weight — off the toilet, up the stairs, out of your car — or the weight of something you’re carrying. Having strong core muscles will allow you to keep doing it unassisted for as long as possible.

In order to build the kind of strength in your core that will give you these benefits, you can do a range of movements and workouts. Any amount of time you spend consciously engaging your core to maintain your posture contributes to a stronger core. Building and maintaining core strength is honestly as simple as understanding why it’s important, and investing in yourself — body and mind — to live your best life possible. The most important first step, as always, is to listen to your body. Figure out the kinds of core strengthening exercises that are right for your body and your goals. And if you need any help figuring it out, we’ve got your back.

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