Everyone wants to have those tight, pronounced abs that you see in ads for beach resorts and swimsuits. They are attractive to many and fit the mold for what society accepts as a healthy, strong body. But there are many more benefits to a six-pack than just aesthetics.
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Your torso is your body’s powerhouse and offers many more advantages than just how good you look at the beach. Your core supports the rest of your body and protects your important organs. When strengthening your abs you’ll be able to take advantage of a number of health benefits that are sure to make you feel better as well as look better.
Here are some of the best benefits of strong abs:
#1 – Less Risk of Injuries
As you strengthen your core you not only develop core strength in the form of abdominal muscles but you are also building core stability. This is the deep muscles that are close to your spine. This should be done before you build your ab muscles so that you are less likely to get injured as you continue your fitness journey.
The fact of the matter is that all of your body’s movements start at your core and move out to your extremities. When you have a solid core you can rest assured that every movement you make when you work out or play a sport can be done with strength and without any pain.
One of the best ways to build strong core stability is to simply pull your abdominal muscles tight by pulling your belly button in toward your spine, holding it for five full breaths, and then relaxing. Repeat this 10 times.
#2 – Less Back Pain
In most cases, back pain can be linked to a weak core. This is because your back muscles compensate for weak abdominal muscles making your back muscles overly strong and overworked. By building a strong core you can balance out the front and back of your body so your back muscles don’t take all of the strain.
When you build a stronger core you can prevent back pain as well as injuries like compressed discs that can happen from prolonged sitting. This is just a matter of being mindful of your core when you’re sitting for a prolonged period of time. By engaging your core more when you sit down you can prevent compressed discs and the pain they cause. Sitting on a stability ball can actually help you engage your core when you need to sit since you’ll need your core to help you stay stable while sitting on it.
#3 – Abs Are Attractive
Abs are often considered to be a sign of good health. But why are abs attractive? Having a six-pack means that you have low body fat, physical strength, possibly higher testosterone levels, and a level of determination that only a few possess. These make a six-pack attractive as a healthy body can biologically be a sign of fertility and being a good provider.
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#4 – Better Posture and Balance
Having a strong core will help you maintain an upright posture that will allow you to sit and stand straight and tall. Besides being better for your bones and muscles, it’ll also make you appear stronger and more confident since confidence is linked to good posture. You can practice good posture on your own when sitting down by straightening out your back and engaging your core by pulling your muscles tight.
Better posture and improved core strength will also help you with your balance. Your core muscles support your body’s alignment and your overall ability to perform certain tasks like walking across slippery surfaces without falling or performing intense exercises like rock climbing or yoga.
#5 – More Protection for Your Organs
A strong core and abs will also better protect your central nervous system as well as your inner organs. These are, of course, vital to your overall health and well-being. Your core is home to your body’s biggest arteries and veins as well as your vital organs. When you build and maintain a strong core you can help protect these important elements in your body by helping you move around better and by taking the strain off of other muscles and bones.
#6 – Become a Better Runner
Believe it or not, a strong core can help you be a better runner. While most people will assume that their leg muscles establish whether or not they’re a better runner, the truth is that a strong core can be just as important. This goes back to the fact that a strong and engaged core helps with your overall mobility and stability. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that runners who did six weeks of core training recorded faster finishing times than their previously recorded times.
#7 – Improve Your Breathing
Your diaphragm is located in your core so by strengthening your core you are helping support your diaphragm and deep breathing. When you breathe through your diaphragm you are helping your body naturally fight off stress and promoting relaxation. Deep breathing can also help you recover faster from intense workouts. When you have a strong core you can better facilitate deep breathing because your diaphragm will be better supported by your engaged muscles.
#8 – Improved Digestion
You now know that a strong core will help protect your inner organs so it should be no real surprise that it can also help those organs function. When you have a strong and flexible core you are helping optimize the function of your digestive system as it won’t have excess fat hindering it. Also, you will need to improve your diet to get shredded abs so this, in turn, will assist with your digestion overall health.
#9 – Improved Heart Health
Sometimes visceral fat will settle between your organs and the abdominal wall which is more dangerous than other types of belly fat that lay right below the skin. When you have visceral fat it puts a strain on your heart and can lead to cardiac problems as well as other health problems. By strengthening your core doing things like crunches and the various plank positions you can help cut back on your visceral fat and take some strain off of your heart.
As you can see, your core strength can help you feel better overall. You will have better balance, more stability, and mobility, and all of your organs will be functioning at higher levels than they were before. Once you improve your core stability you can move on to strengthening your superficial muscles that will show in the form of defined abs. You’ll even feel better psychologically since feeling well physically can help you feel more confident which will raise your self-esteem. The benefits of a strong core are almost endless so incorporate plenty of core strengthening workouts into your cardio and strength training routines to best take advantage of all of these perks.