Abdominal Exercises And Aerobic Activity – Improving Your Quality Of Life

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If you think you don’t need to do cardio or abdominal exercises, you’re wrong. Sit-ups, crunches, the bicycle…these abdominal exercises along with running, swimming or cycling do more than prepare your body for the beach.  They play a key role in improving your quality of life and reducing your risk of injury and disease.

1. Disease prevention. If there was a simple way to reduce your risk of chronic illnesses like Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, wouldn’t you take advantage of it? Well, guess what? Research has found that regular exercise reduces the accumulation of intra-abdominal or visceral fat (the fat deposited around the organs within the abdominal area).

Visceral fat is extremely dangerous and, unfortunately, you cannot tell if you have intra-abdominal fat simply by looking in the mirror. CT scans or MRIs are often needed to accurately determine intra-abdominal obesity. Post-menopausal women are especially at risk.

What makes visceral fat so dangerous? In addition to increasing the risk of the diseases mentioned above, visceral fat raises insulin levels, which encourages the growth of cancer cells.

Fortunately, a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute found that regular exercise significantly reduced levels of intra-abdominal fat, even without significant measurable weight loss.

2. Strength and flexibility.

The abdomen consists of three layers:

* the transversus abdominus, the deepest layer, supports and stabilizes our torso;
* the rectus abdominus enables us to flex our spine;
* the oblique muscles are used to turn, rotate and perform lateral movements.

These muscles, along with the muscles of the back, form the core muscle group, which plays a vital role in  strengthening and supporting our spine, arms and legs.  It is our center of gravity, the place where all of our movements begin.

Even though we use these muscles to perform countless movements, it is difficult to exercise them through everyday activities. If you don’t take the time to perform specific abdominal exercises, these muscles will weaken with age.

Ignoring your abdominal muscles is one of the worst things you can do. Failing to do abdominal exercises significantly increases your risk of back pain and injuries, including painful muscle spasms. Weak muscles also lead to poor posture, which—in addition to being unattractive—can result in back pain or spinal injury.

By simply incorporating a few well-chosen abdominal exercises into your weekly routine, you can safely and effectively reduce back pain and even prevent injuries from developing in the first place.

3. Improved performance. There is no doubt about it. Abdominal exercises will increase your proficiency in all other physical activities. For example, do you play tennis or golf? With a strong abdominal core, you’ll add power to your serve, oomph to your drive. At the same time, you will lower your risk of developing a shoulder injury.

Additionally, abdominal exercises enhance our overall balance and stability during common activities. This is especially important as we get older and the risk of injury due to a fall increases.

So whether you plan to wear a bikini this summer or not, it’s time to renew your gym membership. Begin a comprehensive exercise plan, with abdominal exercises and aerobic activity, today.

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