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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

{be healthy} Challenge

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This week's challenge will only take a minute (or two).  We can all make time for this challenge! 
Get out your stop watch and see how long you can hold the plank position
Try for at least one minute or longer.  You are a fierce competitor if you can hold it two minutes or longer.   

*be sure to keep your bum tucked in, do not lift your bum up because that is cheating, don't let your back sag, and your neck should be aligned with your spine (unlike my head down in the above picture)

The plank position is a good indicator of the strength of your core.  It is is good for everyone, even pregnant ladies and seniors. 

The benefits of a strong core:

1)  Less lower back pain.  If you are experiencing lower back pain, it is time to start strengthening your abdominal muscles.  Your abdominal muscles support your back muscles.  It may not even really be a back issue, but an abdominal issue.  Many times people think that they can't exercise with lower back pain, but most times the therapy for lower back pain is to get moving, specifically working out the core muscles. 

2)  Easily Completing Everyday Tasks.  We may take for granted the every day motions of standing up from a seated position, getting dressed, taking off our shoes, doing housework, etc.  But the core muscles are some of the first to go as we age.  Especially for women who have experienced pregnancy and child birth.  Maintaining a strong core takes work as we age, but this work will pay off when we are in the golden years, wanting to maintain our independence in every day tasks.  A little core strengthening now will go a long way in years to come.

3)  Balance and Stability.  Your core stabilizes your body and allows you to maintain your balance.  While working in my field, I trained many older adults who said they wanted to restore their balance.  Balance and stability are one of the first things to go as we age.  You may not think that is a big deal, but it is so crucial for older adults to have good balance.  There is a big risk of falling, leading to more catastrophic health conditions like hip fractures.  Luckily, it just takes a little work to regain balance.  Most of my clients saw great improvements by doing core exercises.

4)  Good Posture.  Good posture lessens the wear and tear on the spine and allows us to actually breathe.  Weak core muscles contribute to slouching.  You would be amazed at how building up your core will affect your posture!.  And a good posture shows confidence and makes everyone appear thinner, it has a way of automatically shrinking that mama pooch!   

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