Twenty-nine pairs of muscles make up your core, which includes your waist along with your back, hips and pelvis. These strong muscles support the rest of your body, allowing it to move freely while exercising, dancing or just going about your everyday activities -- and that makes skipping your waist workout not an option. And, hey, showing off that bare stomach in a bikini isn’t a bad side effect, either.
Improved Balance and Stability
Worries of falling aren't a concern just for the elderly – think about the last time you hobbled down Main Street in stilettos or maneuvered up a flight of stairs while carrying grocery bags. Those scenarios are ripe with ways you could trip and injure yourself. A strong, flexible waist means your body can work to keep you upright, even in the slipperiest situations.
If your mother always told you to stand up straight, she should have been telling you to work on your core strength. Weak midsection muscles are one of two major causes of poor posture – the other is tight hamstrings and hip flexors – which can lead to your musculoskeletal system not working as well, pain throughout the body and a general slumped-over appearance.
Less Lower-Back Pain
If your lower back aches, you’re not alone – four out of five Americans have lower-back pain at some point in their lives, according to Kaiser Permanent Medical Group. Causes vary, but in some cases, it could mean your waist and other core muscles aren't working well – this pain means your spine isn’t able to tolerate the load it’s carrying. By strengthening the surrounding muscles, it can take a load off your spine.
Improved Athletic Performance
If you’re looking for a better finishing time in your next road race, spend more time on strengthening your waist. A weak and unstable pelvis strains a variety of muscles, from the hamstrings to the lower back, and leads to excessive movement while engaging in sports. These excessive, inefficient movements are wasted energy that could mean worse performance on the road or field.
- Lifelong Fitness: The Importance of Core Strength
- MayoClinic.com: Core exercises: Why you should strengthen your core muscles
- MayoClinic.com: Core Muscle Strength — Why it's Important to Maintain
- Huffington Post: What's So Important About Core Strength?
- The Permanente Medical Group: Low Back Pain
- Sports Medicine Institute International: Core Strength
- Netdoctor: Posture
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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