The secret to a flat stomach is to strengthen your core muscles. You have probably heard trainers or other health professionals in the gym talking about how having a “strong core” is important, but if you’re like most people, you may not know exactly what that means, why it’s important or how to strengthen it.
WHAT IS YOUR CORE?
Most health care professionals use the word “core” to describe the different muscles that are is located in the middle section of your body as a whole. Many people think that the core is just the abdominal muscles. Although they are part of what makes up your core it actually includes your diaphragm (lower chest), abdomen (belly), obliques (sides), mid-lower back, and lower pelvic muscles. Add all of these muscles up and you get a total of 25 different muscles that make up your core.
WHY YOUR CORE IS IMPORTANT
Your core is where your body’s strength and stability comes originates. It is part of what is called a “kinetic chain” that allows the various parts of your body to function correctly. These muscles are critical for optimal athletic performance, daily activities (e.g., sitting, walking, running, reaching, bending, climbing stairs, to name a few). As our bodies age, it becomes increasingly important to do core strengthening exercises so that you can avoiding injuries and maintain an independent, healthy and active life.
STRENGTHENING YOUR CORE
To strengthen your core, it’s important to focus on keeping your belly button pulled in, a flat back and to remember not to hold your breath.
Try these exercises below For For endurance. Hold each one as long as you can. Repeat 2-3x.
Try these exercises below For For strength. Do each leg for 10-20 reps then switch. Repeat 2-3x.
Alicia Bell is a Toronto based Personal Trainer.
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