Sit Ups: 5 ABS-solutely Excellent Benefits!

Doing sit-ups (also referred to as curl ups) has many health benefits and extends much further than helping you maintain a flat stomach and keeping you slender. Sit-ups are regularly confused with crunches and consequently it’s not uncommon for the terms ‘crunches’ and ‘sit-ups’ to be used almost synonymously during conversation. Sit-ups also help maintain good tone in the muscles of the lumbar (lower back) region, hip flexors, neck and chest. Read on for Sit Ups: 5 ABS-solutely Excellent Benefits!

1. Full Body Workout (almost!)

Sit-ups get close to giving your body a full workout. As mentioned earlier, due to the number of movements that sit ups require to lift your abdominal section, they also stimulate a number of your core muscles simultaneously in the process.

The stabilising of different muscles serves the purpose of enabling them to be used in a simple, yet nicely coordinated way. In terms of a full body workover, combining sit ups with squats and push ups or some type of overhead pressing movement; and that’s pretty much it – job done!

2. Sit-ups Enhance Your Balance

Performing sit-ups can help improve your balance. Since sit-ups are connected to several muscle groups that interconnect to facilitate your mobility, you will find that regularly doing sit-ups will also help you develop balance and stability. Your flexibility and adaptability is impacted by sit-ups, so you should soon find yourself being able to do certain movements more easily that you may have found challenging before.

I can recall when I first began doing sit-ups at around 14 years-old, I was unable to place my back and head to the ground with my knees completely flat on the ground. Over time, I’m now able to place my body in this position almost effortlessly.

Furthermore being able to hold this position became easily, the more sit-ups was adapted into more exercise routine. Now I can do the aforementioned with relative ease even if I haven’t held this position for a while. My regular weekly sit-ups have given my body more flexibility and elasticity. This is good for yoga, something I am keen to explore!

3. Sit-ups Can Help Prevent Injuries

Sit-ups, as with all exercises sensibly performed, can reduce the chances of getting injured. A key benefit of sit-ups is its ability to improve flexibility. Done properly and with focused attention, the hip and lower back regions can be made more flexible, pliable and tissues softer by doing regular sit-ups.

The ‘pulling’ of muscles is often a result of poor bodily flexibility. As you probably know, warming up the body with adequate stretching decreases the chances of experiencing a “pulled” or strained muscle. Sit-ups can help provide a decent warm up.

Strong core muscles can also aid existing back pain. It can be a very daunting task to train core muscles that have already been injured in some way. Anyhow, you can see that in just about every case, ‘prevention is better than cure’. Don’t wait until you become, hate to say it, ‘old’, ‘twisted’ or bent-out-of-shape or even sworn at by your doctor in order to make a decision to start exercising regularly!

4. Great for Metabolism

While you develop your body’s muscle mass through exercise, your body in turn requires more sustenance in order to maintain that muscle. To put it simply, the more muscle you gain, the more your body will be burning calories, even at rest. You will be able to eat more as a result of the increased need for calories. Without sounding preachy however, just ensure that the extra food you take in is as whole -and of the healthy kind- as possible.

A healthy body is vital to enable your organs to perform their functions at their optimum and keeping your circulation…well, in circulation, aids the critical flow of blood and oxygen to your muscles.

This has an incredible synergistic ‘knock on’ effect on your brain function and the release of natural hormones and it will also help improve your digestion, another crucial component of effective metabolism.

5. Stimulates other Muscles, Encourages Good Posture & Endurance

Sit-ups can provide you with an improved posture. Having a bad posture can make you susceptible to neck and spine misalignment issues and chronic pain. Doing sit-ups helps to activate core muscles and make them stronger which consequently helps your body to find its natural balance and alignment.

While it is true that both crunches and sit-ups provide a workout for the abdominal muscles and crunches specifically engage the external and internal obliques (including the bicep muscles of the arms) sit-ups are not solely limited to these areas. Additionally, if you draw your feet in a hock motion, the lower leg muscles such as the gastrocnemius, plantaris and the soleus get worked to a mild extent. Sit-ups are more appropriate for improving endurance as they tend to be done more slowly in contrast to crunches which are typically done rapidly – a vital aspect to improving strength. 

Please be aware that many jobs are now very sedentary; behind a desk, on a PC, laptop or tablet, so it’s even more important, now more so than ever to shut your tech or screens down for an hour or two per day. Give yourself an ‘hour of power’, of exercise, motivation, breathing exercises (pranayama), and stretching, and you can thank me later that you started sooner (than later)!

Do you do sit-ups often? What is your favourite core workout? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter Instagram

David Myles

David Myles is an educational researcher as well as a health and fitness advocate. A former vegan, he encourages a diet that is at least 70% plant-based. David regularly engages in exercise routines, preferring to use his own in-house gym. Weather permitting, David enjoys outdoor exercise and is particularly fond of athletics (100 and 200 meter running). Health psychology and how food can enhance cognitive brain function and performance is also high on the list of his keen interests.

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