You’ve wondered if you’re just imagining it, or if it’s really there; that small smile of satisfaction your Fitness Together trainer gets when he or she launches you into your third round of sit-ups in an hour. And when you can’t cough without flinching two days later, you wonder: are strong abdominal muscles really all that important? Or is the Crunch Craze all just a bunch of hype?
Unlike the television show that EVERYONE kept talking about that put you to sleep when you watched it, or the Summer of Kale when you tried your hardest to grow to love that hard-to-chew superfood, it turns out that strong and stable stomach muscles really are worth the attention, and that your trainer isn’t just trying to be mean when she or he insists on them. There are some good reasons why you should focus on your core and abs, and it goes way beyond trying for a muscled six-pack.
Strong abs = healthier tomorrow
It is estimated that 75-85% of adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives. And since building a strong midsection now can help minimize all kinds of back problems and pain, both now and in years to come, you might want to get serious about your core muscles, pronto. Strong abs can also keep you from experiencing those silly “I-hurt-my-back-doing-that??” injuries, such as tweaking your back sneezing or getting out of the car, or trying to relive your basketball days with your high school signature turning-jumpshot. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
Strong abs = less klutz
That moment when you miss a step. Or misjudge an uneven sidewalk. Or trip over a rug, at a party, holding a glass of wine. While we can’t help you with the 10 brutal seconds post-tumble (I’M-TOTALLY-FINE-STOP-STARING), we can tell you that having strong abdominal muscles can help you catch yourself sooner and easier, and on a more regular basis. Having good balance as you age can mean the difference between ending up slightly embarrassed from an almost-tumble, or on the ground and hurt from actually falling.
Strong abs = better performance
Nearly all of your daily tasks utilize your mid-body for stabilization and movement. Because of this, the state of your abs can make a huge difference when you do your chores or participate in other physical activity. When you rotate or twist your torso to pull weeds, shovel snow, lift and carry groceries, or even play with the kids, your strong core muscles can help keep your energy level strong thanks to the stamina and strength you’ve built in your muscles. Strong abdominals can also help keep you from getting injured. And if you do get hurt, this muscle tone will help you heal much faster.
Strong abs = better appearance
If you struggle with keeping a straight posture, strengthening your torso muscles can help. And when your posture is good, you look leaner, more confident, and more attractive. Also, since muscle tone anywhere in the body helps to increase metabolism, your strong abs will help you burn calories at a higher rate.
Though you may be tired of hearing about it, strong abdominals really are that important. By working them during your trainer sessions, you’ll enjoy the benefits right away, as well as in years to come.