As we age, one of the first parts of our bodies to get weaker is the core. Your core is your body’s power center so, it’s crucial to keep it strong. Having a strong core means having better posture, balance and avoiding strength imbalances, which can cause lower back pain and joint discomfort.
The good news is there is one exercise you can do every day to maintain a strong core: the plank. Planking 1-3 minutes each day will help strengthen your core and activate the muscles that have a direct effect on your spine, metabolism, and overall physiological health.
4 Reasons to Plank Daily as We Age
Reduce Back Pain
Most Americans experience back pain for the first time between ages 30-40 according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. This is often the result of living a sedentary lifestyle.
Strengthening your core can help reduce back pain. The plank is a great exercise to strengthen all of the core muscles as well as the muscles in the chest and back.
Work Your Core Without Added Stress on the Spine
Crunches are known to work the core but as you get older they are considered unsafe because they place unnecessary stress on the spine. Many older adults suffer from spinal degeneration therefore, adding more stress to the area increases the likelihood of injury.
Planking provides a safe alternative to doing crunches because the exercise not only places less stress on the spine, it also helps to strengthen the muscles that surround the spine.
Improve Your Posture
Posture can worsen with age and cause back, neck, and shoulder pain. Having poor posture can interfere with an active lifestyle by causing you to lose strength and flexibility. Planks help you develop isometric strength in your core muscles, which improves your posture by giving you the power to keep from hunching while standing or sitting for long periods of time.
Having good posture is crucial as we age because it means your bones and joints are in the correct alignment. A good posture will also ensure that your spine is in the correct position so you will suffer less back pain.
Having a strong core is crucial to having a healthy digestive system. Think about it - if you don’t have functional use of your abdomen it is going to restrict your digestion.
The abdominal organs are encapsulated by the transverse abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques. These muscles compress during digestion and help our bodies get rid of waste. In other words, the stronger these muscles are the more regular your digestive system will be.
Planks are the best exercise to help with digestion because planks strengthen not only the six-pack muscles but also each of the surrounding muscles in your abdomen all in one movement.