It is common to think that the benefits of abdominal exercises are limited to a defined and hard belly. However, the strength and endurance we gain from exercises aimed at this region go far beyond aesthetics. Of course, strengthening the muscles of the belly is not bad! But if you also knew about the other benefits that these exercises bring us, you would start a series right now. Find out what they are!
- REDUCES BACK PAIN
The muscles of our abdomen are fully connected with the muscles of the back. Together, they do the supporting role of the center of our body , being the basis for the rest of your movements and other body functions.
If your abdomen is weak – especially if you are overweight – the back muscles will do practically alone, all this support work. This will overwhelm them, potentially causing pain.
By acquiring abdominal strength with exercise, you create a balance and improve the resistance of the back muscles so that you get less tired and not vulnerable to tensions or injuries.
Also, especially if you have a problem with your lower back, which is very common, you can face a lot of pressure on those in the lower back, leading to weakness in that region, and consequently to pain.
Exercises for the abdomen will be responsible for keeping the vertebrae in alignment and therefore avoiding pain and further complications.
2 – IMPROVES POSTURE
The alignment of the vertebrae will totally influence your posture.
When the abdominal muscles are weak, there is a tendency to slouch, in which we end up becoming more “stooped”. That’s because, you won’t have the muscles strong enough to support the alignment properly.
Abdominal exercises will help support your spine and thereby reduce wear and tear, avoiding complications such as herniated disc , for example.
Also, with a better posture, you will look taller, thinner and more confident.
Read more: Truth and myths you didn’t know about your abs
3 – CONTRIBUTE TO EASY-DAY-TO-DAY MOVEMENTS
Believe me: everything you do in your day requires the strength of the core of our body. Picking up an object on the floor, tying shoes or climbing stairs, may seem like simple tasks but they become more difficult if you have a weak abdomen.
“The pelvis is the real center of its gravity”, says American Sadie Nardini, specialist in anatomy and spine. “This center supports your alignment, which increases your ability to perform tasks , from crossing the slippery street or more intense activities, like climbing or Pilates,” she explains.
Abdominal strength will make you bend, lift, squat and move your limbs more easily.
4 – HELP IN BALANCE
Balance is not just about being able to stand on one foot or walk a tightrope. You need balance at all times : not only to recover from a misstep, for example, but a simple walk.
Resistant sit-ups make this type of activity more automatic, and less prone to falls.
This will facilitate physical activity, allowing you to stay longer and with less chance of injury.
5 – WORKS WITH BREATH
A recent study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that training focused on the abdominal muscles, including intercostal and diaphragm , can improve breathing , and consequently the performance of the exercise.
The study also proved that good breathing from your diaphragm, promotes relaxation and reduces stress. In the test, after athletes completed an intense workout followed by an hour of relaxing breathing, they achieved lower levels of cortisol – the stress hormone.
6 – IMPROVE PERFOMANCE IN ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
“A powerful center makes you better in any sport or movement, like running,” says expert Sadie Nardini
Squats and push-ups will make your muscle burn, but they won’t help your athletic performance. Who does this is the abdomen, which will support your spine and make you able to lift heavier weights.
Your abdomen is the center from which the joints will be activated. So the more muscles you have in the abdominal area, the more energy will be generated for the rest of your body.
For that reason, abdominal resistance is the key to keeping up with being active in a marathon, for example, in the second half of a football match, or any other sport.
In addition, greater muscle endurance allows faster recovery after a workout, as well as a decrease in your heart rate at rest, which is essential for the athletes.
Learn how to contract your abdomen during exercise
7 – REDUCE THE RISK OF SOME DISEASES
We have already mentioned above that abdominal exercises prevent physical problems such as herniated discs. But in addition, a strengthened abdomen with less fat around the waist can decrease the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
8 – EXCELLENT FOR PREGNANT WOMEN
It may not seem like it, but for pregnant women, keeping the abdomen strong is something excellent! This will make labor easier and post-pregnancy recovery much faster. But for this, it is important to have the doctor’s clearance beforehand and to know what exercises can be done.