Strong abdominal muscles might get you noticed at the beach, but they also have a benefit that is more than just aesthetic. If you've been contending with back pain, developing the strength of your abs can help you alleviate your discomfort. Stronger abdominal muscles help you maintain an erect posture whether you're seated or standing, which deceases the likelihood of you slouching and putting strain on your back. You don't need to worry about strengthening your abs to the point that they're visible -- even beneath some belly fat, stronger abs can be beneficial for your back. Here are three simple ways you can boost the strength in this region without buying a gym membership.
Sit-ups are a simple exercise that you can include in your home-based workout. Basic sit-ups don't require any equipment, but you can eventually add resistance by holding a weight on your chest or even having a partner press lightly against your shoulders. Sit-ups are an ideal exercise because many people have experience performing them, which means you won't likely have a learning curve to overcome. This exercise, as is the case with all abdominal workouts, eases back pain over time. Strong abdominal muscles prevent slouching; slouching can easily put your back out of alignment or lead to pain because of an issue such as a bulged disc. Generally, aim for one to three sets of up to 15 repetitions. The exact number you adopt depends on your fitness level and comfort with the exercise.
Stability Ball Crunches
With a stability ball, you can perform a challenging crunch variation that strengthens your abs. Lie your back on the ball and bend your knees at 90 degrees with your feet planted on the floor for support. Cross your arms across your chest and position your head so it's in alignment with your torso. Tighten your core and lift your shoulders a few inches; unlike a sit-up, you don't need to move drastically. Just a few inches is enough to thoroughly work your abdominal muscles. Lower your shoulders back to the starting position and repeat the exercise for up to two sets of 15 reps.
Walking might sound overly simplistic, but you shouldn't discount the fitness benefits of this exercise. During a walk, your abdominal muscles contract to keep your spine and upper body straight, thus strengthening these muscles. You don't need to try anything special to augment the challenge of your walk. The main goal is to turn to this exercise frequently. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, per week.
If you have back pain, consider consulting a chiropractor, such as Mauk Chiropractic, for ideas.