If you've found yourself midway through a set of crunches, covered in sweat, feeling an intense burning in your abs and wondering why the heck you're bothering with this workout, you're not alone. Few people would tell you that crunches are the high point of their day, but no one can dispute the numerous benefits offered by this basic exercise.
Most people wouldn't say no to the chance of having a ripped set of abs, and a regular workout that includes crunches is one way to help reach this goal. Some people erroneously believe, however, that crunches alone will result in a six-pack of abs. The abs are a relatively small group of muscles and won't stand out unless you combine crunches with healthy eating and cardiovascular exercise to lose fat in your stomach area.
If you suffer from constipation on a regular basis, it might be because your bowel has a low level of peristalsis, which means it doesn't contract quickly enough to pass your digested food through your system. A set of crunches can help trigger your bowel so that it spasms and "wakes up." Often, combining crunches with a walk and a gentle laxative work effectively to relieve constipation.
The term "core muscles" has become somewhat trendy, but the fact is that strong core muscles help you for a number of reasons. They're beneficial for several sports and activities, including yoga, and strong muscles around your abs and pelvis also help your posture, stability and balance. Having weak core muscles results in other muscles overcompensating, which can lead to stains and injuries.
It's easy to shrug off some workouts because they require a gym membership or buying expensive equipment for your home. Crunches are convenient because you can do them in your own home or even at work if you want a quick, midday exercise. Whether you do a short set in your bedroom when you get up in the morning or add them to your workout regimen in your home gym, crunches don't require anything more than your commitment.
- MayoClinic.com: Core exercises: Why You Should Strengthen Your Core Muscles
- American Council on Exercise: Do Crunches Help or Hurt?
- Building Muscle Fast Naturally: The Benefits of Doing Crunches
- Yale Medical Group: For Better Posture, Strengthen Your Core Muscles
- Freshlife: Get Moving: Overcoming Chronic Constipation
- Bayside Natural Health Centre: Constipation
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.