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The Core to Success: Ab Strengthening

By Stephen R. Farris

As we get older and often less active, our bodies tend to put on a little added weight, especially around our midsection. It's important that we keep our midsections -- referred to as the core -- in as good of shape as possible. 

Maintaining a strong, healthy core is beneficial for your entire body. Exercise is your best bet to help keep your core in shape, but there's more than just one way to do so. Many people resort to sit-ups or crunches -- which are basically the same - and may also incorporate the use of certain exercise machines to help out with these exercises.

A strong core makes it possible to participate at a high level in sports activities such as golf, tennis, swimming, football, baseball/softball and basketball. But the older we get, there's a chance many of us may be limited in mobility; getting down on the floor to do abdominal exercises can prove to be difficult at times.

Here's a Relatively Easy Exercise to Consider

Remember the old swashbuckling pirate movies in which the captives were made to walk the plank? Well, this is a different type of plank that you can try in the comfort of your home, or even when you're out walking or running. Planking, as it is called, helps with core strengthening to tighten up your abdominal muscles.

How Is It Done?

It's fairly simple. Just find a place in your home that is sturdy enough to support your body weight, such as a table or even a good size chair. Lean on the table with your elbows and your body stretched out to the tip of your toes. The trick is to suck in your midsection and hold for a short period of time and continue to do so for several reps. The goal is to increase your time to about two minutes or longer, and by adding more reps as well.

Contracting Those Abs Is Key

One other exercise to try for core strength does require you to get down on all fours on the floor. At least you're not having to lay down on your back for this one. This exercise is about as simple as you can get and only requires you to contract your midsection. Follow the same procedure as you would planking.

Before starting any exercise regimen, it's always a good idea to consult with your primary doctor or local chiropractor to see if they may have other suggestions that will help you with maintaining a strong, healthy core.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sugar Hill, Ga.

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