The Importance of Core Exercises for Women
Core strength is about more than just showing off six-pack abs. As you work your core, you reap benefits throughout your whole body. A strong core not only helps prevent injury as you go through your full body workout, it improves your balance and coordination in your everyday life.
Core strengthening exercises are more than just a good ab workout
Your core muscles are the central link that connect your lower body and your torso. No matter what motions you go through in your daily life, from playing golf to vacuuming to getting dressed in the morning, you use core muscles, which help you go through these motions without sustaining injury.
As we age, core strength is one of the first things to go. Along with it goes the balance and coordination we enjoyed in our younger years. Remember, your core is more than just your ab muscles; it consists of muscles in your back and pelvic floor that help stabilize your spine and diaphragm and prevent incontinence. A stable core is vital not only to physical fitness, but to overall quality of life.
Benefits of a Strong Core
Strengthen your work ethic. Well, sort of. Jobs that involve motions such as standing, lifting, and twisting all use core muscles. If you sit at a desk in front of a computer, a good ab workout can help prevent your back muscles from getting stiff and sore.
Bolster your back. Low back pain—a common problem among adults—can result from slouching as a result of weakness in muscles in your core. In fact, one of the most common remedies for back pain is core strengthening exercises such as those in the Curves workout plans.
Support your sports. Whether you like to golf, play tennis, bike, run, swim, row, or play volleyball, a strong core will help you excel. Most sports and recreational activities use core muscles, so a good ab workout will give you a leg up.
Keep you balanced. Also called stabilizer muscles, your core muscles help you stay sturdy and upright, lessening your risk of a fall. Core strengthening exercises also improve your posture, which helps you breathe more easily and look and feel more confident. 1
Increase longevity. A strong core will help keep you mobile and independent as you get older. With taught core muscles and good balance, you won’t need to ask for help carrying heavy groceries or completing household chores.
Now that you know the many benefits of core strength, here are some of the best core exercises to do:
Forearm plank: To do a forearm plank, place your forearms on the floor so your elbows are directly under your shoulders. Extend your legs straight behind you, with your feet hip-width apart and your toes curled under so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your heels. Brace your abs and hold the position for one minute. 2
Crunch: Crunches are similar to situps, but they focus on your ab muscles while also strengthening the muscles along your spine that help support good posture. To do a crunch, lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head and using your ab muscles, lift your upper back off the ground until you feel your core engage. Your upper back should only come a few inches off the floor. Hold for a second, then lay back down and repeat. Do three sets of 10 reps. 3
Twisting heel to bum: Sit on a mat holding a single weight between your hands. Lean back slightly, squeezing your legs together, and lift your feet two to six inches off the ground. Twist to one side, turning you knees in the opposite direction. Hold for two seconds. The switch your arms and legs to the opposite side, like a windshield wiper. Hold for two seconds before switching back to the other side. Do 20 rotations on each side. 4
Side plank leg raise: Get into a side plank on your right side, your left hip stacked directly over your right. Your left leg should be extended and your right knee bent so your right foot is behind you. Put your left hand on your waist and tighten your core muscles, thighs, and glute muscles and lift your left leg as high as you can, then lower it slowly to the ground. Do six reps, then switch to the other side and do another six reps.5
Keep in mind as you perform these core exercises for women that it’s important not to get caught up in building rippling abs. Overtraining your ab muscles while ignoring those in your hips and back can actually do more harm than good, setting the stage for injuries that could derail you from your Curves workout plan.
The next time you go through the Curves Circuit or get ready to press play on MyCurves On Demand, think of your core muscles. Remember to give this important muscle group some love with balance workouts and stability exercises, both of which you can find as part of your Curves exercise routine.