Often when people think about getting in shape, they turn to cardio fitness. They think - if I run more, I'll lose weight. This strategy falls short in several ways - the most common cardio activities, such as running or jogging, are pretty tough on the joints, and upping your cardio leads to fat loss, but no muscle gain. Muscle is the Midas gold of exercise - the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn (even when you're not working out).
Over the past few years, you may have heard "sitting is the new smoking". And what makes sitting even worse? Poor posture. Staring at your phone or computer can give you tech neck, leads to rounding of the upper back and shoulders, and weakened abdominal and back muscles. The answer? Core strengthening!
Whether you have a exercise regime in place and are looking for new activities to spice it up, or want to jump right in, we'll talk about several activities that are not only great to strengthen your torso muscles, but fun, too.
Rock climbing also engages your body’s core for balance and the strength to support your own weight. Even better, you will find that strong abs support strong arms. There's different types of rock climbing, from indoor walls to bouldering (no harness required). Before you do try rock climbing for the first time, it’s worth checking out climbthatrock.com to find out about the kind of safety gear you will need. It’s always best to be safe than sorry! More interested in "gym climbing" (indoor)? Check out this article on the basics from REI.
If you think yoga is just a stretching class, you'll be sorely disappointed. Holding prolonged positions while stretching your muscles, and focusing on your breathing, activates your body's core muscles throughout the entire routine. Even just doing a few Sun Salutations each day will help you build on your strength - after all, holding the plank position and then doing a few push ups is actually quite hard work, no matter how easy it may look! After a few months of practicing yoga, you will find that both your core strength and balance will have greatly improved!
a blog about health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness from an epidemiologist / dietitian with personal trainer experience
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