Last week while on vacation I was exercising at a gym, which I don’t do often. It was a great chance to do some “field research”, providing many blog topics 🙂
The biggest tip I want to share is – please do not waste time going to a core exercise class. I observed 20 people wasting a perfectly good half hour on the floor doing all kinds of exercises for their abdominal muscles. Why wasting time? Two big reasons:
- It’s not how the core is designed to work: One job of the core muscles is to stabilize and protect the spine when the body moves. Another is to provide a strong foundation for all movement because when the trunk is aligned and stable, the upper and lower body can be stronger with less wear and tear. Working on each of the abdominal muscles individually while laying down does not mean they will know how to do their job during activities of everyday life. When we incorporate activating the core while using the arms and legs it learns to support, stabilize and protect in the way it was designed.
- Spot reducing is a myth: All that time working on this “trouble spot” in the body will not burn more fat around the middle. Its just not how the body works. Why then, would it be worth using a significant amount of your exercise time “working” on your core? I cannot think of a reason. Instead use that time to do quality strength training for your whole body while incorporating your core muscles into those movements. The result will be a greater impact on your metabolism, core muscles that know how to do their job well, and time left over to do more of what you enjoy in life.
I do realize this is a big shift from what is highly popular in the media right now. Notice this week how much fitness marketing and social media focus on ineffective core exercises with promises of spot reducing. However, you as the savvy fitness consumer know better. If you are a Weight Center patient and want instruction on how to incorporate your core into your strength training, let me know and we will set up an appointment.
Keep Moving, Be Well,
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These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.