A weak core can make you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries – making it difficult to keep up with your walking.
Some of the major muscles include those in your back (multifidus, erector spinae) and your abdomen (external oblique, transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis). Your core muscles must work in harmony to provide stability to your body and brace and support you when needed.
Strengthening your core
Core strengthening requires the regular and proper exercise of your body's 29 core muscles. Basic exercises that will enhance your core fitness include the:
- Abdominal crunch or sit-up
A fun alternative to your basic core strengthening regimen is to learn exercises that use a fitness ball. Balancing on these oversized, inflated balls requires that you focus on using your core muscles for support and improve your walking.
Getting the most from your workout
It's important to do your core exercises at least three times a week. For optimal results, remember to:
- Choose exercises that work your core muscles simultaneously. Rather than isolate each muscle group in your trunk, the best exercises for your core are those that get muscles working together at the same time.
- Focus on quality of movement rather than quantity. You'll gradually build up to a greater number of repetitions. When starting out, take it slow and learn how to properly perform each exercise with optimal technique.
- Breathe steadily and slowly. Breathe freely while doing each of the exercises in your core strengthening workout. Your instinct may be to hold your breath during an exercise, but it's better to continue breathing.
- Take a break when you need one. When your muscles get tired, stop and change exercises. And, if you work your core muscles to fatigue during an exercise session, wait at least a day between workouts to allow the muscles to recover.
Keep in mind that strengthening workouts — even core strengthening — are just one part of a complete fitness program. Keep on walking and include flexibility training to round out your regimen.