Whenever something gets a lot of press or public attention, you can’t be certain whether it’s worth the hype. That new TV show that has your friends enraptured every week, or that movie that everyone starts quoting might turn out to be super lame. And that unicorn-inspired coffeehouse beverage? We know how that turned out. Sometimes you’ve got to bide your time and see if it ends up being worth your attention and effort.
However, when it comes to exercise, it often turns out that the stuff that fitness magazines, online articles, and your FIT36 coaches mention over and over again are actually really important. Case and point? Your abs. You crunch them. You plank them. You bicycle them. But really, why are strong abs SO important? (And is it your imagination, or do you see a hint of enjoyment on your coach’s face when she’s leading you through countless ab reps, while you’re shaking like a jackhammer?)
Strong abs = better performance
All sports utilize your mid-body for stabilization and movement, so the state of your abs can make a huge difference in your sports performance. When you rotate or twist your torso to catch or dodge a ball, bend over a hockey stick, or even as you train for a triathlon, your strong core muscles can help give you the extra edge over your opponent thanks to your stamina and strength. Strong abdominals can also help keep you from getting injured. And if you do get hurt, this muscle tone will help you heal much faster.
Strong abs = healthier tomorrow
Building a strong midsection now can help minimize all kinds of back problems and pain, both now and in years to come. Strong abs can also keep you from experiencing those “dumb” injuries, such as tweaking your back sneezing or getting out of the car, or trying to relive your cheerleader days by attempting a pike jump (uh, hypothetically speaking).
Strong abs = better weekend
Whatever you’ve got planned for this weekend, there’s a good chance that a strong set of abs can help you do it better. Dancing? Of course. Skiing or boarding? Without a doubt. Heck, even if you’ll just be hanging around with your friends, your strong abs will help you maintain better posture, which helps you look leaner, keeps your arms and legs in alignment, and boosts your confidence, too. And since all defined muscle tissue in your body helps burn calories at a higher rate, your firm tummy will help offset those nachos, too.
Strong abs = less klutz
That moment when you miss a step. Or misjudge an uneven sidewalk. Or trip over a rug, at a party, holding a glass of wine. While we can’t help you with the 10 brutal seconds post-tumble (I’M-TOTALLY-FINE-STOP-STARING), we can tell you that having strong abdominal muscles can help you catch yourself sooner and easier, and on a more regular basis. After all – who wants to waste good wine?
And yes, it’s possible that your FIT36 coach is getting some enjoyment from leading you through endless Russian twists, but it’s only because he’s concerned about your health and strength. Really.