The Core of Summer

Summer is almost here, and for many people that means increased activity at the beach, on the field, and in the yard. You’ll need a strong, fit core to protect your spine, stabilize your center of gravity, and give you better control over all your movements. Strengthening the muscles of your abdomen, sides, and back will prevent injuries all year-round.

Many exercises can improve core strength, including abdominal crunches, superman extensions, and yoga-based poses like planks and bridges. Incorporating a large, inflated fitness ball works more muscles simultaneously, rather than in isolation, during each move.

Follow these guidelines for a safe, effective routine:

Focus on quality, not quantity. Do a small set of crunches, deliberately and concentrating on form, rather than dozens of strained, hurried sit-ups.

Remember to breathe. Many people tend to hold their breath when exercising, but slow, steady breathing is best.

Rest. If you fatigue your muscles, wait at least a day between workouts for optimal recovery and results.

Check out exercise illustrations and videos. Consider consulting a certified fitness trainer or physical therapist to be sure you’re using proper form and body alignment.

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