5 Reasons You Should Be Doing Ab Workouts
When it comes to getting a good ab workout, there's more to life than endless crunches. There's also lots more to be gained by working your abdominals than just a perfectly sculpted six pack. Here are some of the top reasons you should be working your abs, and a quick tip on how to sneak more ab time into your at-home workouts.
1. You’ll improve your balance
In yoga, the secret to mastering any balance pose is engaging your abdominal muscles while you’re up on one leg or teetering on your hands. Ab workouts that make your core stronger create more stability overall. And you’ll see that benefit outside the yoga studio, too. We balance all the time — for example, when you’re climbing stairs — so stronger abs will work for you all day, not just during your workouts.
2. You’ll beat the posture slump
With smartphones and tablets, there’s a strong tendency to hunch forward. That can lead to poor posture and, eventually, risk of pain in your back, shoulders, and neck. Ab workouts will give you more support throughout the abdominals, which means you’ll be creating better structure for your spine. Shoulders back, stand up straight! Finally, you’ll have the posture your mother always wanted for you.
3. You’ll do better at any sport or activity
Unless you’re aiming to start an eye-rolling league (count us in), it’s likely that whatever activity you do will involve a solid core. Whether you’re golfing, swimming, running, even canoeing or hiking, your abs allow you to transfer more power to your limbs. So, you can jump higher, paddle harder, or step up stronger.
4. You’ll do your job better
It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or an intern, a factory worker, or a flight attendant — every job uses core muscles in some way. Those in offices struggle with how much they sit, and those who are on the move all day struggle with standing too much. Everyone twists, lifts, and reaches in some capacity. Ab workouts can alleviate the strain that repetitive work-related motions can cause.
5. You’ll live longer
It sounds like a late-night commercial for a miracle product, but strong abs may actually help you live longer. Researchers at Mayo Clinic have noted that those with larger waist circumference size tended to have a greater risk of premature death than those with smaller waists. This was true even in the face of other risk factors like smoking, being sedentary, and alcohol use. Could ab workouts now keep you around in the long term? It’s worth a shot.
Tips for Your Home Workouts
There are plenty of ab workouts that can help get your core stronger. But if you’re just starting out, here’s a simple strategy that you can actually do anywhere: Draw in your abdominal muscles as if you’re cinching a belt and you have to “suck in” your belly to do it. Hold for five breaths, relax for three breaths, and do it again. Repeat 10 times for a “set.” Try to work up to 10 sets per day.
The best part about this tactic is that it’s a great time-filler and sneaky exercise. You could be waiting in line, brushing your teeth, cooking dinner, or watching TV and still doing an ab workout.