Coast Guard All Hands is featuring the monthly “Wellness Wednesday” series to help Coast Guard members learn more about healthy living. Blog author Tim Merrell is the Coast Guard’s Health Promotion Program Manager, a prior health services technician, has a bachelor’s degree in health education, and is a certified personal trainer. Please contact Timothy.M.Merrell@uscg.mil for topic recommendations or questions.
Here we are already into summer, and for many of us, the warmer weather means a more active lifestyle. One of the most important things we can do to ensure these summer activities will not sideline us is to focus on core fitness.
Core fitness is important for everyday functional movement and directly affects our quality of life not only now, but in the future as well. Think of core fitness as the pillar that maintains the stability of other movements. Having fit core muscles can prevent back pain, allow you to move more fluidly and have better posture. It also improves athletic performance.
The core muscles include: the rectus abdominis, the external and internal obliques, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, multifidus, and the hip and pelvis muscles. All these work to stabilize the trunk of your body. Some of the exercises that can help improve your core include: planks, push-ups, squats, bridges, step-ups with hip flexion, bird-dogs, and lunges. Pilates or yoga can also strengthen these muscles.
Maintaining a strong core does not require a gym membership. As with all new exercise endeavors, check with your physician and start slow. Incorporate core exercise gradually and try not to do too much before your body adjusts to new demands. Pick a few exercises to start with at a slow tempo, and after a few weeks add more.
These exercises not only contribute to a strong core, but also enhance an active lifestyle that includes whole-body exercise. If you incorporate exercise into your daily life, it will contribute to your strength and feeling of wellness.
Stay hydrated and keep exercising.