Planking for Your Health

| October 30, 2016 | 0 Comments

Along with nutrition and sleep, exercise is a core pillar of great health. It is a critical part of living a long and healthy life without too many health complications. The human body was designed to move, and it is always a good time to get started.

You will want to try different exercises to figure out what you like and to maximize the health benefits from your exercise. Some different types of exercise include strength training, cardio workouts, core training, and high intensity interval training.

Why Core Strength Is As Important As Cardiovascular Strength
Core strength is much more than having a strong stomach. It is strengthening the middle of the body, which is a link in the body’s chain of muscles. Weak core muscles can result in back pain or a ripple effect into your arms and legs.

The core muscles don’t only include the stomach muscles, but also the muscles around your sides, pelvic muscles, hip muscles, and your back. These muscles work with each other to provide your body with stability. Without a strong core foundation, your body will not be as powerful as it could be.

Functional Benefits
Core strength gives your body flexibility, as your back is the central point of where your body moves and functions. It improves your ability to lift, twist, turn, sit, walk, and stand. It also reduces back pain, as poor balance and strength that can’t support your body get tired and overworked.

Core strength improves balance, stability, and posture, which decrease the likelihood of experiencing back pain. This becomes even more beneficial as you grow older, when your bones become weak and your muscles start to lose their strength.

Daily struggles, such as carrying heavy objects or balancing on a slippery surface, are less likely to result in an injury when the core muscles are strong. You will also have better athletic performance with a strong core.

Test of Overall Fitness
Staying active is important to your overall health and wellness. Poor health is often attributed to a sedentary lifestyle. Exercises help to reduce stress and improve sleep and energy levels. It can also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Physical fitness also promotes weight maintenance, which then reduces your risk of several diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and stroke. One way to determine how physically fit you are is to perform a plank test. If you are able to do a standard abdominal plank for two minutes, you are doing well.

Have Fun
Exercise should be fun so it can become a habit. Think positively about your exercise and find a partner who will enjoy it with you. Set small goals or friendly competitions with friends to get some extra motivation. Record your improvements as you go so you can see your results over the long term. Also, exercise to music that gives you energy and keeps you moving.

Basic Plank Maneuvers
Basic plank maneuvers work by gently stressing your muscles and their connective tissue to improve strength. This takes time, so do not rush the process. Be patient as your muscles are getting stronger. It is also important to take it slowly so you do not get injured.

For a basic plank, stand about three feet from the wall. Place your hands on the wall and lean in with your elbows straight. Keep the weight on the toes and hold the position for 30 seconds. To progress this, move to the floor. Next, move from straight arms to elbows and toes.

For an up down plank, toes on the floor in straight-arm position, as in a push up. Move down to your forearms one at a time, and hold the position for two to three seconds. Then get back up to a straight arm position. Repeat this move.

For planks with leg raises, start with toes on the floor in the straight-arm position. Straighten one leg out and lift the heel toward the ceiling. Hold this for one or two seconds before bringing your leg back down. Repeat this on both sides. To progress this, try it on the elbows.

For planks with a knee crunch, put your hands on a chair, while settling in the plank position with your weight on your toes. Lift your right knee to your right elbow and then release to the starting position. Repeat this move on both sides. Progress to the floor, push up straight arm position, and try it there. If you are really fit and ready go to the elbows and draw one leg up at a time but flare the knee outward so that your thigh bone is parallel to the floor.

Common Mistakes
Always make sure that your body is aligned and your head is neutral. Tighten your core muscles and pull your shoulders down for optimal effect. Lower your back so it feels natural, without strain. If your back experiences strain, your pelvis more than likely has come out of the neutral position creating the more dramatic lower lumbar curvature putting more pressure there. Draw your navel to your spine if you feel this as that drawing in motion will alleviate it.

This may feel unnatural as your start, but you have to work to make it look and feel better than it has in the past. Each new session will improve your form and your benefits. The key is to do it, then keep doing it.

Fitness Together Mission Hills offers personal training with qualified professionals by regular appointment in private suites. Exercise and nutritional programs are custom designed to fit your needs and abilities. Call (619) 794-0014 for more information or to schedule a free fitness diagnostic and private training session. See what others are saying about us on Yelp.

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Category: Health & Fitness

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