How strong is your core?
If you've tried any exercise program, or watched the infomercials, you've probably heard a lot about developing "core strength." Generally, while a lot of us might only think "abs," this refers to strengthening the muscles between your pelvis and shoulders. Your core supports the rest of your body, protects your spine and is at the root of daily muscle activity. Arthur Agatston, M.D., cardiologist and author of the South Beach Diet, recommends core strength training for more than physical fitness, but also for strengthening your heart.
Dr. Agatston suggests a combination of functional and resistance training to build muscle mass, flexibility and endurance. Building muscle raises your metabolic rate, how fast your body burns calories, which helps you lose weight, which reduces your risk of heart attack. Flexibility protects you against muscle injury and allows you to continue your workouts, which contributes to heart health.
Strengthening your core, in particular, should be more than developing a "six-pack" or abs like your favorite female celebrity. Pilates is one form of exercise that focuses on the core muscle groups, one that Dr. Agatston practices himself and strongly recommends.
Learn more about:
The Pilates method: http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/about/pilates-benefits.html
Dr. Agatston: http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2008/01/dr-arthur-agatston-in-news.html
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