My last post, On Hockey Parents & Why I’m Mad as Hell at Exercise Commercials, was never supposed to exist.
(I highly recommend reading that one first, and then coming back to this one. This will all be funnier that way. Read it here.)
It was a rant that began when I started to write this post: 5 Reasons to Focus Exclusively on Your Core This Winter, which was originally intended for Monday’s post.
I’m sitting on a plane flying to Winnipeg for two games vs the University of Manitoba Bisons, and I’ve been bombarded by commercials for exercise equipment modelled by creepy actors who apparently enjoy working out in the vast emptiness of space. Next time you see one of these commercials you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Also they smile the whole time. Who smiles while they’re on the Stairmaster?
Anyways, airplanes make me ramble, so here’s the point: while I wrote 500 words too much about exercise equipment, what I was getting at is that in order to maintain a consistent schedule during the winter, people like you and I need to be efficient with our exercise routines. There’s no quick fix, but that doesn’t mean we can’t optimize the time we spend in the gym.
Here’s a couple reasons why you should put your new workout clothes to good use by focusing on your core above everything else this winter.
1. Who’s Got Time to Work Out?
This is the first, last, and oldest excuse in the book.
You know who has time to work out? You. You have time to work out. Everybody does. You’ve heard it all before, from the “you deserve some self maintenance” and “isn’t it nice to spend time alone?” and “mental strength is a product of physical exertion”.
Those are all true. Know what else is true? If you make time to work on your torso, hips, thighs and everything else in the middle of your body then you’ll be well on your way to a healthy winter.
2. Everything Starts from Your Core
One of the biggest reasons - heck, the biggest reason - we exercise is because we want to look good. Not Brad Pitt in Fight Club good necessarily, but our own best version of ourselves. The tricky thing about exercising just your core is that it’s impossible. Unless you’re using those horrid ab-roller machines from the 90’s that wrenched your neck at impossible angles, most core exercises involve work for the rest of your limbs too.
Exercise such as planks are a killer workout for your arms and shoulders in addition to your glutes, hips, abs, and lower back muscles. The gym-in-a-bag strap-device Steph St. Laurent has in the gym is 30 minutes of full-on core assault, but each movement extends its benefits to other muscle systems as well.
3. Core Work Will Improve Your Breathing
When I was training with Steph last spring he told me that if I was completely out of breath after an exercise then that meant it was working. When I regained consciousness and considered the idea it made a lot of sense.
Spending a half hour bench-pressing as much weight as possible isn’t an efficient use of your time. Why do you need such strong pecs anyways? Wouldn’t you rather build functional strength throughout your body?
Of course you would, you’re a parent, you need all the strength and stamina you can get. Because it incorporates so many body parts, all that core work, while it may leave you breathless, is a great way to improve your breathing techniques and overall cardiovascular prowess.
Hidden Benefit Number 4: Core Work is Bloody Hard
You know that blissful feeling that only arrives when you’ve completed a task? Light that sensation on fire and drop it in the middle of a crystal clear lake - that’s what it feels like when you’ve accomplished an hour of targeted core work.
Every inch of your body is engaged. This includes your mind. It’s a natural high that you just can’t find anywhere else.