Kampala Uganda: Planks or sit-ups Get in The Habit Of Working Out: Making the Right Decisions Based On Proven Science

A friend of mine is a bodybuilder, a stay-at home type and we were sharing about using the body weight to stay fit as opposed to lifting metal weights. We had in mind the Buddhist monks who work out using the body as the source of all necessary build up of: stamina, balance, steadfastness and power. In other words a stronger core. Good workouts combine classic core moves — planks, squats, and lunges — with exercises that work the full range of core muscles.  I remembered my Harvard health tips and looked up one that I want to share with you. It encourages skipping the sit-ups.

Sit-ups once ruled as the way to get tighter abs and a slimmer waistline, while “planks” were merely flooring. Now planks — exercises in which you assume a position and hold it — are the gold standard for working your core, while classic sit-ups and crunches have fallen out of favor. Why the shift?

One reason is that sit-ups are hard on your back — they push your curved spine against the floor. Sit-ups also work your hip flexors, the muscles that run from the thighs to the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. When hip flexors are too strong or too tight, they tug on the lower spine which can be a source of lower back discomfort.

Second, planks recruit a better balance of muscles on the front, sides, and back of the body during exercise than sit-ups, which target just a few muscles. Remember, your core goes far beyond your abdominal muscles.

Finally, activities of daily living, as well as sports and recreational activities, call on your muscles to work together, not in isolation. Sit-ups or crunches strengthen just a few muscle groups. Through dynamic patterns of movement, a good core workout helps strengthen the entire set of core muscles — the muscles you rely on for daily activities as well as for sports and recreational activities.
A strong core has been known to help provide us with better stability, better posture, as well as making us better and more efficient walkers and runners. In addition, a strong core helps us to perform everyday activities with a little more ease.The plank has also been shown to help relieve muscle or back pains. Although you need  medical clearance from your physician if you have had a history of back pain or back issues.

The plank does not require any fancy exercise equipment it can be done almost anywhere, at any time.  Just remember you want to keep your spine straight, you do not want your back to be arched, nor do you want your back to sag.

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