If you have lived on a farm and hauled wheelbarrows of agricultural produce or animal/poultry food, you have indeed worked your midsection. Otherwise, how would you have managed to get that weight off? If that sounds so labor intensive, which I agree, how about lifting that bag of groceries from the car to the kitchen counter? These, although part of a daily routine, all work to strengthen our midsection.
Augustine Kasujja, a fitness trainer, says it works well to replace workouts like crunches and planks. “Not many people can do it. Even when they could, many find them cumbersome because they aren’t used to training,” he says.
Kasujja adds that since we use our core in our daily activities, it ultimately helps stabilize our trunk. “With core strength, doing most movements throughout your day becomes easier. It can be moving your legs or swinging your arms. All of this requires your heart and with a strong heart injuries are avoided during the different activities,” he says.
So it goes without saying that a weak core is a recipe for injuries, for example, when climbing stairs.
As you find the courage to hit the gym to do planks and the like, here are some activities you can capitalize on to strengthen your core.
Knowing how to make everything work to your advantage is key. Fitness coach Monica Nakyejwe says that in addition to working your core, carrying your groceries also strengthens your arms and your grip.
“Strong triceps and biceps make the activity easier and less cumbersome. The best way to do this is to make sure the weight is evenly distributed between your arms while maintaining an upright posture,” she says. Often, when bags of groceries are packed, the person doing it only ensures that like items are put together and nothing is likely to spill out.However, when one intends to strengthen one’s core when he carries groceries, it is necessary to ensure that the bags are packed so that they weigh approximately the same.
“This way the weight is distributed evenly to ensure that left and right are worked evenly,” Nakyejwe explains.
Cleaning your home or house is very taxing and surely few people would consider it a workout. However, when you mop (using a mop with a handle) and dust, you engage the muscles between the shoulders (trapezius), abdomen, and muscles on the sides of the body (obliques) . Kasujja says it all falls into the midsection and the harder they work the stronger the midsection becomes.
“When mopping, dusting and cleaning hard-to-reach places, do your best to keep your back flat to avoid back injuries,” he says.
Walking, in itself, needs a strong core to become less tiring. So it goes without saying that for a stronger core, climbing stairs is an amazing activity. Nakyejwe says that on the way up they will work their calves, quads and glutes.
To get the most out of this workout, she advises using your heels rather than your toes to climb the next set of stairs.
“It’s safer because the weight is better distributed. Also, let the heels touch the stairs rather than the toes,” she advises.
For people whose jobs require them to sit for long hours, the simple act of standing and then sitting helps strengthen your core.
“The activity engages the calves, quadriceps, glutes and obviously, the midsection. For this to count, keep in mind that you are about to stand up and then sit down. This allows the body to prepare for the activity When you are aware you are also able to listen to your body better, thus knowing where the pains are, which indicates how far you should go with the activity or if you should also see a physiotherapist says Kasujja.
Kasujja advises us to take care of a small plot of land for, for example, vegetables, spices, herbs or even matooke.
“From raking and weeding to planting and harvesting, gardening is often a full-body workout, as you use your back, shoulders, abs, legs and core,” says- he.
While some activities are somewhat unavoidable, like carrying groceries or climbing stairs to your home, others, like standing and sitting or looking for stairs to climb, are intentional.
“There needs to be some form of self-training to ensure that these daily activities turn into something that benefits our bodies. For example, making sure grocery bags are evenly loaded helps to have balanced core strength. Plus, most workouts are more beneficial when your core is strong, so these daily activities provide a great foundation for any other workouts such as squats, plunks, and deadlifts,” says Nakyejwe.