Wellness Wednesday: Core Fitness

Coast Guard All Hands is featuring the monthly “Wellness Wednesday” series to help Coast Guard members learn more about healthy living. Blog author Tim Merrell is the Coast Guard’s Health Promotion Program Manager, a prior health services technician, has a bachelor’s degree in health education, and is a certified personal trainer. Please contact Timothy.M.Merrell@uscg.mil for topic recommendations or questions.

EASTERN PACIFIC OCEAN – Seaman Kristine Kearny, a crewmember aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Sherman, instructs a yoga class on the gun deck on the cutter, Jan 21, 2017. Kearny is a woman of many talents of which she shares with her shipmates while on a counter narcotics mission in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Cutters like Sherman routinely conduct operations from South America to the Bering Sea conducting alien migrant interdiction operations, domestic fisheries protection, search and rescue, counter-narcotics and other Coast Guard missions at great distances from shore keeping threats far from the U.S. mainland. (FOR RELEASE U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Allyson E.T. Conroy)

Here we are already into summer, and for many of us, the warmer weather means a more active lifestyle. One of the most important things we can do to ensure these summer activities will not sideline us is to focus on core fitness.

Core fitness is important for everyday functional movement and directly affects our quality of life not only now, but in the future as well. Think of core fitness as the pillar that maintains the stability of other movements. Having fit core muscles can prevent back pain, allow you to move more fluidly and have better posture. It also improves athletic performance.

Coast Guard members participate in yoga workoutsThe core muscles include: the rectus abdominis, the external and internal obliques, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, multifidus, and the hip and pelvis muscles. All these work to stabilize the trunk of your body. Some of the exercises that can help improve your core include: planks, push-ups, squats, bridges, step-ups with hip flexion, bird-dogs, and lunges. Pilates or yoga can also strengthen these muscles.

Maintaining a strong core does not require a gym membership. As with all new exercise endeavors, check with your physician and start slow. Incorporate core exercise gradually and try not to do too much before your body adjusts to new demands. Pick a few exercises to start with at a slow tempo, and after a few weeks add more.Candidates completing their phsyical screening test to accompanty their application to the Coast Guard's dive program begin their timed 500-yard swim at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center Pool, Friday, March 14, 2014. The Coast Guard is soliciting volunteers to apply for the service's new dive program and members must include their results from the physical screening test with their application in order to be considered for the program. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Brandyn Hill)

These exercises not only contribute to a strong core, but also enhance an active lifestyle that includes whole-body exercise. If you incorporate exercise into your daily life, it will contribute to your strength and feeling of wellness.

Stay hydrated and keep exercising.

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