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In the world of health and fitness, it can be easy to get lost in a sea of buzz terms, new trends and fad diets.

The truth is though, the key to sustainable exercise is all about taking a long-term and holistic approach to your body. You need to eat all of the major food groups and strengthen all of your muscles, and that’s where core exercises come in.

More than just another buzz term, core exercise isn’t just about constant crunches – it’s an essential element in your fitness routine.

Understanding Core Exercises

When people think of their ‘core’, they sometimes think of their abdominal muscles and a flatter stomach. While core exercises can help you to look thinner, there are a range of other benefits beyond your abs.

Combining your abdominal muscles, your obliques – or side muscles – and your deep muscles, core exercise is actually more of a full body workout. Your core muscles connect to your legs, your back and your glutes too, meaning positive affects throughout your body.

The Benefits of Training Your Core

Giving your core a good workout will have benefits far beyond your abdominal muscles. Here are a few of the ways they can help.

  • Tighter, stronger abs – training your abs and those deeper core muscles is one of the most effective ways to get them looking tighter and feeling stronger
  • Enhance your balance – strengthening your back will contribute to better balance and increased coordination too. As well as this, these exercises can stimulate the cerebellum in your brain, enhancing your spatial awareness and stability on another level
  • Strengthen your entire body – with core muscles affecting so many other parts of your body, it’s no wonder that they contribute to a stronger body overall and greater athletic capability

So What Can You Do?

While they’re not the only element of core exercises, you can still start with crunches. Strengthening your abs and obliques is an important first step before attempting other core exercises.

In a consultation with a personal trainer or fitness professional, you can ensure that you’re performing the right techniques for the most effective results.

Pelvic floor exercises can improve bladder and strength control. An individualised pelvic floor training program can be devised for you by visiting a professional.

Pilates and yoga are both effective and enjoyable ways to engage your core. These workouts typically combine exercises like planks and squats that work your muscles together, instead of targeting them in isolation.

If you live in Newmarket or around Auckland, take advantage of locations like The Olympic Pools & Fitness Centre. Classes like Coreflex enhance your core muscles by blending the best elements of yoga and Pilates. Pump classes and personal training sessions are other great ways to enjoy the benefits of core strength.

With a flexible timetable to suit business people and busy mums alike, a few fun sessions might be the best way to get started. However you do your core exercises, remember to work hard, work smart, and have fun!

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