Ten years ago, if you ever took a group exercise class, you probably had the somewhat unpleasing experience of getting thrown into a 2 minute abs fire drill at the end of the class. These days, however, the conventional ab session ‘tack ons’ are starting to vanish and instead, we are seeing more and more classes dedicated to our ‘core.‘ Whether it be Pilates, or for that matter, a conventional abdominals class, a lot more time and energy is focused on this area of the body.
In my mind, this is a good thing. When I was teaching group fitness, I would cringe when class members would bolt right after the cardio section, putting no time or effort into the cool down, core exercises or stretching. Further, I know too many friends and family members who have been prone to throwing out their backs or injuring themselves while lifting things. In short, it is apparent that people often neglect this area of their body. As we get older, however, it is more and more important to spend the time to strengthen our core muscles. Here’s why:
- Your Core is What Gives the Rest of Your Body Strength: I’ll let you in on a secret…your ‘core’ is really what give you most of your strength…all over your body. Yep, that is right. Because your core, which includes both your abdominals and your lower-back muscles, is attached to your legs and arms, your body relies on it for every move we make. For example, if you swing a golf club, your core is working hard to twist your torso to allow you to take your swing…even more than your arms.
- Your Core is Your Tail and Whiskers: Do you know that cats use their tales and whiskers for balance? Guess what, you use your core in much the same way. Your core is what enables you to bend over without falling, as well as to jump and land on both of your feet. Further, if you kick a ball, your body is relying on your core to stabilize yourself as you stand on one leg and swing the other.
- Your Core is Your Armour: Okay, it isn’t made out of metal or bullet proof material, but your core sure does protect you from injury. Your core is instrumental in ensuring that you don’t hurt yourself when you lift things or have to make sudden changes in movement.
So, next time you think you’ll skip your ‘core’ workout, don’t! Take the time to take care of your ‘power house.’ Do you skip ab exercises at the end of aerobic classes? What core classes and/or exercises are your favorites?
- Pilates: Building a Mind-Body Connection
- Core Training: What is it and what are the benefits?
- Your Guide to Pilates
- What is the Difference Between an Abdominals Class and a Pilates Class
- Suck it In! A Lesson about My Abs
- Exercise Videos