A strong core isn’t just important for our overall strength; it’s actually essential for keeping us fit and healthy in many other ways. It can stop us from developing a back problem, it protects our internal organs and the rest of our body from injury, and it makes us look fabulous. And if that’s not enough, working out the rest of our body is a whole load easier when we have a strong core to work from. If you think your core could do with a bit of TLC, but you don’t want to spend the next few months just doing crunches and planking, try to incorporate some of these activities into your workout regime.
The rowing machine is a thorough cardio workout which also strengthens legs, arms, shoulders and, most importantly, the core. Many rowing machines incorporate a screen with technology that allows you to follow distance “rowed”, calories burnt, and some even have games that require you to chase objects across the screen – a great incentive to encourage you to work out harder. You don’t have to get down the gym to get on a rowing machine either; many people are starting to install them in their homes, as they fold up easily and are easily stored. If you’re interested, look online for the best rowing machine of 2017.
A perfect all-over body workout, swimming is also amazing for winding down, relaxing, and daydreaming as you exercise. If you’ve been swimming for years, you might be mistaken in thinking it’s easy, but the resistance you face as you pull yourself through the water is an amazing arm and leg workout. Keeping yourself afloat and the right way up means you’re constantly using your core muscles, and after a while, you can really feel the effect.
Let’s be honest, high-intensity interval training is pretty perfect for working out your entire body, but your abs and obliques are worked particularly hard. Crunches, Russian twists, burpees, and anything else your instructor feels like throwing in will all help to strengthen and define your core muscles, which giving you one of the best cardio workouts there is. HIIT is highly recommended for anyone wanting to shift a bit of weight or start to gain definition as well.
Pilates is all about improving balance and stability, as well as strength and posture, and obviously, this means a focus on the core muscle group. You might more readily associate Pilates with an expensive studio and instructor, but actually, all you need is a mat and you can get started at home with the help of DVDs or YouTube tutorials. It’s also great for beginners, new moms, or people who have maybe neglected their core muscles recently, as the difficulty level is easily modified.
So if you think your abs and obliques could do with a bit more love and attention, try some of these activities and reap the rewards of a stronger core.