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Iron Legion

Core strength: Not just important for aesthetics.

What is my core?  Good question.  Your core is your midsection or better known as your abs.  Even if you cannot see them you do still have ab muscles.  Although the six pack abs are awesome, the importance of a strong core goes far beyond looking good in a swimsuit.  Strengthening the core of our body will help you in various aspects of living.

It’s not about the six pack

First let’s discuss what makes up our core.  The major muscles that make up your core are the internal and external obliques, transverse abdominus, and the rectus abdominus.  The Rectus abdominus are the muscles we see when someone has a six pack.  The oblique muscles are on the sides of the abdomen with the external obliques layered on top of the internal obliques.  Finally, your transverse abdominus muscle wraps around your spine for protection and support.

What can a strong core do to help?

  • Relieve Back pain.  Most back pain, especially lower back pain, that people experience is due to having a weak core.  Knowing now that the transverse abdominus wraps around your spine it should only make sense that the stronger your core muscles are the more support and protection you back would have.
  • Protection for organs.  The Rectus abdominus, aka six pack muscles, are great protection for internal organs like the stomach, intestines, kidneys, and appendix.
  • Stronger stamina.  Stronger core and more stamina and energy go hand in hand.  The work that it takes to increase you core strength will by default increase your energy levels, which will in turn increase your stamina when performing exercise, chasing kids, at work, and doing every day chores.
  • Decrease health risks.  Strengthening your means you are lessening the amount of abdominal fat you are carrying around.  This decrease in abdominal fat helps decrease risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
  •  Stability/ balance.  Increased core strength helps better your posture.  This is going to improve your overall stability and balance.  You will be less likely to stumble or fall if you are more stable and therefore you will suffer less injuries.
  • Confidence.  I can admit I am a little self-conscious when I am not feeling quite as strong in the midsection.  As your tummy tones up your confidence will improve too.

What can I do to get my core stronger?

The obvious answer is ab exercises and exercise in general is going to improve your core strength.  Another tip is to practice good posture.  It takes strength to have good posture so the more you stand or sit up straight the more your abdominal muscles will have to work.  It will soon become habit for you and for your body.

 

Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

We have all heard from the time we were kids that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Has anyone ever explained why?  Do we just blindly take advice because “they” say it is so?  Or do we not listen because what do “they” know?

 

Although breakfast is an important meal, I feel like when we understand why it is we are more likely to make it happen.  When we run out the door with no time to eat we set ourselves up to feel bad from the start of the day.

 

Jump start the day

Eating breakfast gives your metabolism the boost it needs to get the day going.  When you skip breakfast, you are sending a message to your body that it needs to hang on to whatever it has because there is no telling when food will be coming.

 

More energy all day

Eating first thing in the morning will give you the necessary energy for all your morning run around.  When you skip breakfast you start to feel a midmorning slump, it’s hard to concentrate, hard to get work done, even hard to stay awake at times, but even eating a small on the go meal can help you avoid this.

 

Avoid overeating later

By not eating first thing in the morning our energy levels get so low that we tend to eat foods that would not normally be our first pick.  People will go for the higher fat or sugary snacks instead of healthy whole foods.  Over time this will lead to a myriad of health problems.

 

Less calories does not mean less meals

Many people assume decreasing the amount you eat will help you lose weight.  Depending on the individual this may be true, but not at the sacrifice of a meal. Maybe we need to decrease the amount of food we eat at each meal.  We could also need to increase the quality of our food at each meal (I will talk about this in another blog). Maybe it is both, but, we still need to eat all our meals, beginning with breakfast.