Okay. I admit it…I’m a “core fitness” freak. I am now anyway.
A few years back I began having back pain. No big whoop, everybody has back pain, right?
But then I began having neurological symptoms … tingling and numbness in my legs, and “foot drop.” As a physician and surgeon, I knew what that meant: impingement on nerves. Not good. Had a spine MRI. Long story short, they found that I have what everyone has eventually: degenerating discs. Probably from years of climbing, running, and general physical abuse as an athletic “weekend warrior.” I had started running early in high-school, and continued to average 25-mile weeks for the next twenty years.
Running is “high-impact.” Your back pays a price for those years of pounding. Especially if you don’t focus on core fitness.
Optimal fitness of your core muscles protects your back. If only I had known. Now I know, and I want you to know, too.
I know now that there are many benefits to building your core fitness:
- you’ll look great – who doesn’t want an hour-glass physique?
- you’ll improve your posture; better posture, better confidence
- you’ll improve your balance and agility
- you’ll protect against injury
- and many more benefits
But back to my story …
My docs at the Spine Center instructed me to “never run again,” and to “build my core.” So I started doing sit-ups. Every day. I thought that was what it meant to “build your core.” We’ll get back to that in a moment.
When things got worse, further testing revealed a rare (extremely rare) spinal cord disease. It seems the degenerative disc disease was just a red herring: sure, it’s there, and it’s causing symptoms. But the progressing, sometimes debilitating pain, was due to this other rare disease.
Like most things in life, a little self-interest can be very motivating: I was – and I am – very motivated to stay out of a wheelchair. And to avoid the pain.
So I began to really look into what “core fitness” means. I began asking:
- What is your “core?”
- Is it just your abdominal muscles?
- Is it sufficient to have “a six-pack” for abs?
- Is that “core fitness?”
I didn’t know the answers, and most docs don’t know, either.
With the typical obsessive behavior of a micro-surgeon, I tried to answer this question: what are the most efficient, effective, optimal ways to achieve core fitness.
And, as a recent fan of “life hacks,” I started asking:
“What are the “fitness hacks” to achieve core fitness”?
And I did what I’ve done for years: I researched what is known about achieving ultimate core fitness. In order to stave off complete incapacitation. To prolong my ability to walk and function on my own, without a wheelchair; and to function without mind-numbing medications that simply mask the pain.
And I learned that “sit-ups” and “ultimate core fitness” are not synonymous.
Those with defects in their back anatomy may benefit from what I’ve learned. Those who are runners, with healthy backs, can definitely benefit from what I’ve learned.
Whether these exercises and activities are safe for you is between you and your physician, not between you and me.
For those of you who are motivated to achieve true, optimal core fitness, I’ll share what I’ve learned with you. With a warning: it’s not easy. It’s way harder than a few sit-ups. But doing these things will help you achieve serious core fitness. But, like most things in life, what doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you. This will be challenging if you want results.
What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you.
Especially if you are a runner, you should develop your core. In fact, ANY athlete can benefit from solid core fitness. Most runners believe that running twenty miles a week or more is plenty to keep their core fit. Most athletes believe that the ability to do fifty sit-ups is plenty to keep their core fit.
They’re wrong. It’s not.
And your back will pay a price for core weakness. Please work on your core. Avoid back injury!
If you’re interested, I have written a guide that will take you through what I’ve learned during my own journey to optimal core fitness. Access it here by signing up for a FREE Sacred Herbals HealthHAX™ Membership: Core Fitness for Runners from Sacred Herbals.
It’s free, and I’m not trying to sell you anything. This guide reveals the benefits of building your core; and takes you through how to do it, step-by-step – even if you already have back pain.
- Seven exercises for optimal core fitness.
- And I include the five core exercises that I use (for those with back pain)!
- Without buying any specialized equipment.
- Without an expensive gym membership.
You can sign up here – think of this as your core fitness course … one of our FitnessHAX™ publications. (Yes, it requires that you provide your email address: how else can I know where to send your core fitness guide !?) This sign-up now provides you with a FREE Membership to access free Sacred Herbals HealthHAX™ eBooks!