By Bonny Longley

While it may be good motivation, rocking a beach-worthy body isn’t the only reason to get your torso in shape. After all, your core is about more than just your ab muscles; its your powerhouse. Not only does it facilitate movement, but it also houses your inner organs and central nervous system. In other words, it helps you do just about everything.

As a personal fitness trainer, this is where it all begins with my clients. There are countless benefits involved in this particular method of training for people from all walks of life and different levels of ability. Here are a few reasons to keep your core strong.

  • A strong core helps us perform our daily functions as efficiently as possible. The core muscles are those that form part of the abdomen, the trunk and the pelvis. As we perform our daily activities like walking, bending, reaching up, or even turning our bodies to look towards our sides, our core muscles support these functions so that there is no undue pressure given to other parts of the bodies.
  • A strong core stabilizes your body, allowing you to move in any direction, even on the bumpiest terrain, or stand in one spot without losing your balance. Viewed this way, core exercises can lessen your risk of falling.
  • A strong core supports the spine, pelvis and joints so that injuries are prevented when activities involving these parts of the body are used.
  • A strong core not only leads to muscle strengthening but to bone strengthening as well. Exercising your muscles gives stress to the bones, increasing bone density. In the long run this minimizes injuries.
  • A strong core leads to lean muscle which in turn burns calories.
  • A strong core develops good posture, trims your silhouette and projects confidence. More importantly, it lessens wear and tear on the spine and allows you to breathe deeply. Good posture helps you gain full benefits from the effort you put into exercising, too.

Weak, tight, or unbalanced core muscles can undermine you in any of these realms. And while it's important to build a strong core, it's unwise to aim all your efforts at developing rippling abs. Overtraining abdominal muscles while snubbing muscles of the back and hips can set you up for injuries and cut athletic ability. If washboard abs are your holy grail, it's essential to trim body fat with proper nutrition and build strong abdominal muscles through frequent core exercise sessions.

Not only will a strong, healthy body turn heads on the beach, you’ll feel great, too. Once you’ve developed your core stability, you can start working on the more superficial core muscles to build strength that you’ll be able to see. Exercises like the "plank," "bridge" and other abdominal moves are great ways to get started. Workouts that incorporate bosu and stability balls are another good option. It really is about working from the inside out, building core strength. Just because you’re strong, doesn’t mean you have a strong core. It’s really something everyone can work on.

Written By - Bonny Longley - 2016