Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

Planking for Your Health

October 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Along with nutrition and sleep, exercise is a core pillar of great health. It a critical part of living a long and healthy life without too many health complications. The human body was designed to move, and it is always a good time to get started.

You will want to try different exercises to figure out what you like and to maximize the health benefits from your exercise. Some different types of exercise include strength training, cardio workouts, core training, and high intensity interval training.

Why Core Strength Is As Important As Cardiovascular Strength

Core strength is much more than having a strong stomach. It is strengthening the middle of the body, which is a link in the body’s chain of muscles. Weak core muscles can result in back pain or a ripple effect into your arms and legs.

The core muscles don’t only include the stomach muscles, but also the muscles around your sides, pelvic muscles, hip muscles, and your back. These muscles work with each other to provide your body with stability. Without a strong core foundation, your body will not be as powerful as it could be.

Functional Benefits

Core strength gives your body flexibility, as your back is the central point of where your body moves and functions. It improves your ability to lift, twist, turn, sit, walk, and stand. It also reduces back pain, as poor balance and strength that can’t support your body get tired and overworked.

Core strength improves balance, stability, and posture, which decrease the likelihood of experiencing back pain. This becomes even more beneficial as you grow older, when your bones become weak and your muscles start to lose their strength.

Daily struggles, such as carrying heavy objects or balancing on a slippery surface, are less likely to result in an injury when the core muscles are strong. You will also have better athletic performance with a strong core.

Test of Overall Fitness

Staying active is important to your overall health and wellness. Poor health is often attributed to a sedentary lifestyle. Exercises helps to reduce stress and improve sleep and energy levels. It can also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Physical fitness also promotes weight maintenance, which then reduces your risk of several diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and stroke. One way to determine how physically fit you are is to preform a plank test. If you are able to do a standard abdominal plank for two minutes, you are doing well.

Have Fun

Exercise should be fun so it can become a habit. Think positively about your exercise and find a partner who will enjoy it with you. Set small goals or friendly competitions with friends to get some extra motivation. Record your improvements as you go so you can see your results over the long term. Also, exercise to music that gives you energy and keeps you moving.

Basic Plank Maneuvers

Basic plank maneuvers work by gently stressing your muscles and their connective tissue to improve strength. This takes time, so do not rush the process. Be patient as your muscles are getting stronger. It is also important to take it slowly so you do not get injured.

For a basic plank, stand about 3 feet from the wall. Place your hands on the wall and lean in with your elbows straight. Keep the weight on the toes and hold the position for 30 seconds.

For an up down plank, kneel on the floor in straight-arm position. Move down to your forearms and hold the position for two to three seconds. Then get back up to a straight arm position. Repeat this move.

For planks with leg raises, kneel on the floor in the straight-arm position. Straighten one leg out and toward the ceiling. Hold this for one or two seconds before bringing your leg back down. Repeat this on both sides.

For planks with a knee crunch, put your hands on a chair, while settling in the plank position with your weight on your toes. Lift your right knee to your right elbow and then release to the starting position. Repeat this move on both sides.

Common Mistakes

Always make sure that your body is aligned and your head is neutral. Tighten your core muscles and pull your shoulders down for optimal effect. Lower your back so it feels natural, without strain. If your back experiences strain, you may put stress on it and get injured.

This may feel unnatural as your start, but you have to work to make it look and feel better than it has in the past. Each new session will improve your form and your benefits.

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Frank Salvatore