Running has so many benefits, we always think of running only as cardio training, but we are so lucky that running also strengthens and activates so many different parts of our body. Running provides great cardio training, which is also a great ab workout. For most people, the abs are the hardest part of the body to tone and activate. When we deal with extreme stress, our body automatically stores fat in the midsection. Additionally, our poor posture also makes our abdominal muscles weak and makes our abs turn into higher level of fat.
In the past, we would focus on performing crunches and sit-ups to get some abs and six-pack. However, only performing these type of exercises is not very effective to strengthen the abs and core. That’s where even running can help get some good levels of abdominal fitness.
Fitness Benefits of Running
Running is one of the most easy cardiovascular exercises and strenuous activities. We don’t need special gear or equipment, and we can run anywhere. Running helps strengthen the abs and core but also has many other health benefits.
Increases lung capacity
Improves strength of the heart muscles
Reduces excess weight
Improves our mood and happiness with the release of endorphins
Strengthens the back for stability
Strengthens the core
How Running Strengthens the Core
Our core and abdominal muscles consist of:
We need to work all four muscles to get the perfect abs, and running activates all four of these muscles at the same time. The deepest located ab muscle is the transverse abdominis, and running is the best exercise that actively targets this muscle. To strengthen our core to a higher level while running, we have to activate those muscles by sucking in our belly button in towards our spine without holding our breath. This will help to keep our core activated and tight while we run, and it will also connect to our obliques, to help balance to whole body.
Running also helps to burn fat in our abdominal cells. Running increases the blood circulation, which helps burn excess fat in the body. The additional blood flow in our abdomen breaks the fat cells that cover our ab muscles. Cardiovascular exercises is essential to eliminate the layer of fat around our belly, and to help to tone it.
How Often Should We Run?
If we run with the goal and target to tone our midsection and abs, we should run at least 4-5 times per week for at least 5K or 30 minutes. And to add some strides or speedwork will help optimize the cardio. But to sustain our heart rate, some of our runs should follow a lower heart rate, with are slower runs.
Running for Life Will Help to Maintain Joints and Muscle and Mental Health and Strength
Running is such a healthy activity. Running can help enhance and extend our life span for many years. Often, people think that running as we get older will affect our muscles and bone health negatively, but in fact it will keep them strong and healthy.
Running Provides So Many Health Benefits
Reduces the risk of heart attack
Reduces the risk of cancer
Reduces the risk of Alzheimer and Parkinson’s diseases
Maintains muscle strength
Support joints and bone health
To maintain a proper running form and support our core, muscles and joints, we have to perform a pre-run dynamic warm-up to activate the muscles, joint flexibility and mobility. A good warm up will help provide some good endurance. After each run, we must perform some basic stretches for our hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves for a minimum of 5 minutes, to release the muscle tightness and prevent injuries. And to do some good foam rolling sessions with some more stretches a few times a week will help to support our overall muscle health.
Run for Life, Feel Strong and Healthy and Add Many More Years to Your Life!