Daughter Two just came down with the Unspecified Virus of Unknown Origin (h/t Critical Drinker) so our Fourth of July plans just changed. The barbeque and pool party with her friends is off. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with all the food I bought at Costco, but it looks like day drinking and ridiculously large ice cream floats are on the menu.

None of that will lead to six-pack abs but that’s not today’s topic. Core strength is. I’m not going to get wonky defining the core. I’ll leave that for the pedants among us. I’m using the commonly understood idea of your midsection. Of course, the muscles in your abdomen tie into other surrounding muscles. It all matters and strengthening other muscle groups is, of course, beneficial. Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen to work together.

A strong core leads to better balance and stability making daily activities such as walking, running, and sitting much easier. This will make you less susceptible to injuries, keeping your body aligned and minimizing strain on your muscles and joints.

A body that is aligned and upright will make you less prone to have back pain. Your core supports your entire body especially the neck and back. If your core is weak, then other structures of your back will have to work harder to support the body. This leads to muscle strains and back pain.

A strong core leads to good posture. Good posture lessens wear and tear on the spine and allows you to breathe deeply making exercise easier.

Wherever you are on your fitness journey, include some core work. Since the 70s are long past us, I am officially telling you to ignore your grade school gym teacher and avoid sit-ups. They are inefficient and a good way to jack up your back.

Here are a number of ways to strengthen your core:

From a physical therapist

From a yoga teacher

For beginners

Core circuit

Core strength secret

As I get older, and maybe a little wiser, I increasingly appreciate what America is. We have our problems, we are imperfect, we are populated not by angels but by people. And I couldn’t be happier to be here. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have been born and raised here. When I hear learned idiots detailing our faults, I can only think they may be right but show me what country has been better. Show me a country more willing to own up to its errors (even if it sometimes takes us too long to do so.) I’m proud or the USA, warts and all.


— • —

This week’s music.