BOTTOM LINE: Sitting for long periods of time is not recommended if you want to avoid bodyweight (i.e., fat) gain. Take short breaks every hour and go for a walk to get the blood flowing and lessen the risk of heart disease (still the number one killer of Americans), stroke, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
Your response to this question most likely is lack of exercise and eating too much food. Well, you may be half right. Research seems to support the finding that sedentary behavior rather than eating too much food is primarily involved in contributing to the prevalence of overweight and obese Americans today. The American Journal of Medicine has concluded from reported data that Americans are more sedentary now than they were 20 years ago. Almost 1 in 5 women reported not being physically active 20 years ago, whereas over 1 in 2 women reported being mostly sedentary today. In men, 1 in 10 reported not being physically active 20 years ago whereas today, over 2 in 5 men reported being mostly sedentary. But here's the interesting part, average daily caloric intake throughout this time period did not significantly increase. Therefore, one can surmise that it's a lack of physical exercise that's causing our skyrocketing obesity rate and not gluttony behavior.
BOTTOM LINE: Sitting for long periods of time is not recommended if you want to avoid bodyweight (i.e., fat) gain. Take short breaks every hour and go for a walk to get the blood flowing and lessen the risk of heart disease (still the number one killer of Americans), stroke, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
Type-2 diabetes occurs when your pancreas is not able to release adequate insulin to metabolize sugar within your blood. Regular exercise in conjunction with a healthy low-sugar, high-fiber diet (think lots of fruits, vegetables and nuts) can ameliorate the effects of type-2 diabetes. Of note, weight training may be particularly beneficial in lessening the effects of high blood sugar because increased lean body mass allows more sugar from your blood (i.e., glucose) to be stored within your muscles in the form of glycogen, your body's fuel source for muscular energy. In other words, increased lean body mass (i.e., muscle) obtained from weight training means less bodyfat which lessens insulin resistance.
How often should you exercise if you have type-2 diabetes? The general recommendation is to lift weights two to three days per week and perform some kind of cardiovascular exercise (e.g., walking, swimming, biking, rowing) four to seven days per week. The weight training should not be too intense (i.e., less than 75% of your 1-rep max which amounts to about 12 to 20 reps before sufficient fatigue) and cardio training should fall within 40 to 70% of your heart rate reserve. It is essential to be aware if you feel dizzy or light-headed. These are symptoms of a low blood sugar level and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Have a snack and/or glucose tablets available just in case.
This topic has received a lot of attention lately in the press because many people drink low-calorie diet sodas containing artificial sugar in an effort to lose bodyweight or bodyfat. With the increased trend of type-2 diabetes occurring in our society this news should sound some alarms. Maybe it's not a good idea to consume those diet sodas after all.
Scientists have discovered that the commonplace artificial sugars saccharin (Sweet 'N Low), sucralose (Splenda) and aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal) raised blood glucose levels more than natural sugar by changing intestinal bacteria in the gut. The increase in fasting blood sugar levels was found to be significant enough to warrant attention because of the increased risk of type-2 diabetes.
The findings from the research has been criticized because the study was performed on a very small sample of people and uncontrolled confounding factors such as genetics, diet, gender, and health status may skew the results. Nevertheless, you may want to limit the amount of diet soda you consume and avoid putting artificial sugar in your coffee.
Here is a list of things you can do today to increase your energy level throughout your day:
Whether due to a vacation, illness, work schedule, injury, etc., you can reverse the effects of detraining when getting back into a fitness routine. Factors such as age, fitness level and exercise experience will affect how readily your body will respond to exercise after a deconditioning period. Nevertheless, no matter what shape you were in prior to a layoff, your body will regain the losses in muscle mass, cardiovascular capacity and flexibility with exercise.
Your body is a miraculous organism which has the capability to adapt to physiological changes that are put on it. This means that if you subject your body to an intense bout of resistance and cardiovascular training, your body will essentially "remember" the effects of this stimulus after a break in training. These effects include the pumping of blood (and oxygen) throughout your body to affect your metabolism during exercise. Training-induced effects include ameliorating your blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well as increasing your muscle fiber size and neuromuscular adaptations. All of these favorable physiological effects will dissipate to varying extents as a result of sedentary behavior. The longer the layoff the longer it will take your body to regain the loss in muscle mass and cardiorespiratory capacity. The good news is that your muscles (including your heart) have a "memory" of how it felt as a result of resistance training and cardiovascular exercise. Thus, no matter how long your layoff period, you can certainly regain some, if not all, of your muscle mass and cardiovascular (aerobic) capacity. The more fit you were prior to your layoff, the more gradual the decrement in muscle mass and aerobic capacity.
To lessen the effects of detraining when going on a vacation or when you're more busy at work, try to get in at least some exercise. In other words, it's better to perform some exercise (i.e., workout at least once per week) than to not exercise at all for a period of time. When time is short, increase the intensity of your workouts by performing abbreviated weight training (i.e., 30 minutes) and high-intensity interval training (i.e., 1-minute sprints followed by 1-minute slow jogs for 10 minutes). If you injured one limb, you can still exercise the rest of your body to minimize the detraining effect.
BOTTOM LINE: In most cases, there is no reason to not continue exercising no matter the changes that may occur in your lifestyle or circumstance. The important thing is to continue working out and not stop altogether in order to stem the detraining effect on your body.
Most people know a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition and regular exercise reduces mortality. Now new research supports this finding in the case of running. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that running for just five to ten minutes may extend your life by three years. The fascinating aspect of this 15-year study was that the speed, distance, frequency, and duration of running was not as important as running itself. In other words, you can reap the benefits of living longer by running slowly for a few minutes at a time. It's important to keep in mind that this research did NOT prove causation that running increases lifespan but rather that there seems to be a correlation between running and living longer. The research had found a 30 percent lower risk of death among runners compared to non-runners. Those who are more avid runners tend to accrue the most benefit of living longer. Obviously, the health benefits from running such as improved heart and lung function help explain why runners tend to live longer than non-runners.
BOTTOM LINE: Running at your own pace for just a few minutes per day may extend your lifespan.
Aside from the obvious medications available today, the best way to control your blood cholesterol levels is to exercise regularly (i.e., 3 to 5 times per week of aerobic exercise, 2 to 3 times per week of anaerobic exercise) and eat healthy foods. Regarding the latter, here are some recommended foods that may help to lower your LDL ("bad") cholesterol level due to their quantity of antioxidants:
Knock knees (genu valgum) is a common condition (especially for women) in which the knees face inward when standing, walking, running, etc. When performing impact exercises like running, having knock knees can predispose you to injuries at the hips, knees, ankles, and/or feet (overpronation). Orthotic inserts for your shoes may be recommended if you have knock knees, particularly if you are a runner. Having knock knees while performing impact exercises (esp. running) will most likely predispose you to joint problems later in life unless you either wear orthotic inserts or avoid the exercise altogether. Non-impact exercises like walking, swimming and biking are safer alternative exercises for those who have knock knees.
The best way to keep your joints healthy is to BE ACTIVE. A sedentary lifestyle of sitting most of the day is not good for your joints, especially your knees. Moving your body regularly ensures adequate synovial fluid circulation within your joints to keep them healthy and to prevent stiffness. Losing bodyweight is particularly recommended to lessen knee pain due to cartilage breakdown. Every pound you lose removes four pounds of pressure from knees. Daily stretching is strongly recommended to lessen joint stiffness and pain. Just be sure to warm up your muscles prior to stretching to loosen up the tendons and ligaments surrounding your joints. Low-impact cardio exercises (e.g., walking, biking, swimming, etc.) are recommended to protect your joints from cartilage damage. Weight lifting is also encouraged to strengthen your muscles surrounding your joints and to lessen the risk of arthritis. Be sure to move your joints in a FULL RANGE OF MOTION when exercising to lessen stiffness. Also, perform core-strengthening exercises that work your abdominals, lower back, gluteals, and hamstrings to maintain a strong foundation for your joints. Eat fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, etc.) to lessen joint inflammation as well as plenty of dairy products containing calcium and vitamin D to maintain strong bones. Maintain good posture to protect your joints by performing exercises such as fast walking and swimming regularly.
A recent study has found a correlation with watching a lot of television and decreased life expectancy. This means that there seems to be a connection between excessive TV viewing (i.e., more than three hours daily) and shortened longevity. But this does not mean that watching a lot of TV causes decreased life expectancy. The study just determined that there is a correlation and that's all. Nevertheless, it is eye-opening to think that watching a lot of TV may shorten your existence on earth. The risk of heart disease, cancer, and premature death increased with excessive TV viewing. Of note, those that watch a lot of TV tend to eat less healthy foods (i.e., sugary, processed foods). Of course, if you watch a lot of TV you're not very active--certainly puts you at increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
BOTTOM LINE: Watch less than two hours of TV daily and get out there and exercise to live a longer life.
The importance of having good posture cannot be overstated as the many aches and pains felt by your body may be associated with having faulty or bad posture. Having good posture will lessen your risk of incurring back pain while serving to maintain a strong and healthy back.
What exactly is meant by having good posture? Good posture occurs when your musculoskeletal system is in alignment to guard against injury and deformity over time as a result of needless muscular strain. Your muscles work more efficiently when your body is in a state of balance and equilibrium whether in a standing, lying, squatting, bending, or sitting position. Good posture can be assumed when drawing your chin back, relaxing your shoulders, stretching your chest forward, tucking your navel toward your spine, sitting with your knees lower than your hips, and having both feet planted firmly on the floor. Good posture means standing or sitting "tall', shoulders pulled back (chest pushed out) with your stomach pulled in. Assuming good posture does require isometric contraction of your stomach and lumbar muscles but the result will be good spinal alignment, reducing upper and lower back pain caused by slouching and hunching. Having good core strength in your abdominal, lumbar, hamstring, and gluteal muscles will certainly help in maintaing good posture. (See elsewhere in this blog for information regarding core exercises.)
BOTTOM LINE: Strengthening your core muscles as well as stretching tight chest and shoulder muscles will be helpful in maintaining good posture. And don't forget there's a bonus to having good posture: you will look much more attractive!
The ill effects of sitting for long periods of time on your body can largely be attributed to one thing: reduced blood circulation. When you sit behind your desk at your job for eight or more hours daily each week your blood circulation significantly slows to a point where your blood becomes more viscous. The increased viscosity reduces fresh blood to your muscles and organs. This causes a lack of fresh oxygen and nutrients to flow throughout your body. Your metabolism becomes sluggish as a result and organ function slows. In addition, neck strain from craning your neck forward while typing may cause an imbalanced cervical vertebrae. Sitting for long periods of time may cause uneven compression of your thoracic and lumbar vertebrae which in turn may damage your intervertebral discs. The result: unbearable back pain. Stiffness and tightness in your hips also tends to occur from spending too much time in a sitting posture.
Sedentary behavior may cause multiple organ damage, promotes increased abdominal fat deposition and bodyweight, and lessens flexibility. The insidious part about this is that the effects occur slowly without us knowing the extent of the damage that's occurring until it's too late. Heart disease may occur from sluggish blood flow and the buildup of fatty acid deposits which may clog the heart. Symptoms of this scenario include elevated blood pressure and cholesterol. Type-2 diabetes may occur from your body's inability to produce enough insulin from your pancreas to metabolize a buildup of glucose in your blood caused by lack of exercise. Symptoms from high blood sugar may include increased hunger, thirst, urination, fatigue, dizziness, and weight loss. Excess insulin within your blood may promote carcinogenic cellular growth, increasing your risk of colon, breast and/or endometrial cancer. Lack of exercise and poor posture causes anterior and posterior muscles to become weak and tight, respectively (i.e., abdominal muscles are weakened and back muscles become tight which causes more slumping in your chair). Chronic slumping will cause hyperlordosis or swayback. Hip flexor muscles become tight due to chronic flexion which causes shortening of these muscles, limiting hip extension. Swollen ankles and blood clots may occur from sluggish blood circulation as a result of sitting too much. Your bones, which are composed of living tissue, become less dense and weak as a result of a lack of weight-bearing activities. Weakened and soft bones increases your risk of osteoporosis.
So what can you do to counteract the adverse health effects of sedentary behavior? It's obvious. You need to get up and move around more often. Here are some suggestions to get you started in the right direction:
BOTTOM LINE: You've got to move your body more often in order to prevent sluggish blood circulation, lessen abdominal fat deposition and increased bodyweight, and feel more energized. Some form of resistance training with weights is recommended in order to maintain muscle mass to prevent increased bodyweight from fat. Lifting weights will prevent the risk of frailty and therefore allow you to live an independent life as you get older. Resistance training also helps to maintain your strength and lessens the risk of osteoporosis. By moving, you'll lessen your risk of incurring the life-style related diseases that plague industrialized societies (e.g.., heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.).
Kyphosis (i.e., forward head posture) caused by slumping over your computer exacerbates chronic tension in hypertonic or tight muscles in the shoulders and neck. Mental stress and improper breathing are also contributing factors to the pain you feel. So what's the treatment for shoulder and neck pain? Try yoga. The benefits of yoga are too numerous to name here but suffice it to say this ancient art can relieve your pain by improving your posture, reducing mental stress, and learning how to breathe properly. Yoga poses such as the Standing Mountain pose in conjunction with shoulder shrugs and overhead arm raises, Angel Wings, forward bends with neck massage, and stability ball/foam roller supine stretching are excellent exercises to reduce shoulder and neck pain. You can see a description and demonstration of the aforementioned poses here.
Biological research has shown that telomeres, the caps on the ends of DNA strands within your chromosomes, tend to shorten during the aging process. It's still unclear whether the shortening occurs as a response to aging or the shortening causes aging. But there is evidence indicating certain lifestyle factors other than genetic may disrupt the shortening process. Why is this important? Because knowing the things that may cause telomere shortening can enable us to affect the rate of aging. Here are some of the factors that may affect how quickly you age:
Bottom line: No surprise here: living a healthy lifestyle by not smoking, exercising regularly, eating a nutritious diet, and controlling stress may allow you to live a longer life by lessening the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke.
There are many things you can do to reduce the sense of fatigue you may feel throughout your day:
Exercise order DOES matter and you would be wise to arrange the order of your exercises using the knowledge gained from this blog.
First, assuming that you're not a beginning lifter, you should determine which muscle groups you will workout for each day that you train (i.e., chest, shoulders, triceps). Once this is known, the next step is to arrange the order of the muscle groups to be trained from largest to smallest muscles (i.e., chest, triceps, shoulders). If you plan on training antagonistic muscle groups (i.e., quads and hamstrings), you should prioritize the muscle you feel needs more strength or size. In this case, for most people, the hamstrings should come first before quads. In other words, you would be wise to train the hamstrings when you have the most energy before hitting quads.
Once the order of muscle groups has been determined, the next step is to arrange the order of exercises. You should prioritize free weight compound exercises first when you have the energy and stamina. For example, you should perform incline dumbbell presses before pec-dec flyes when you work chest. Another example, perform dumbbell military presses before cable lateral raises when you work shoulders. For triceps, you should perform close-grip bench presses before rope pressdowns. On the other hand, if you feel your triceps or shoulders are mostly engaged in the incline dumbbell presses, you should perform a set of pec-dec flyes first to pre-exhaust your chest before hitting incline dumbbell presses.
To sum up, here's a quick general list you should follow to properly arrange your workout program:
Keep in mind that these rules for exercise order are not written in stone. As you become more advanced in your lifting career, you may vary the exercise order based on how your body feels or what you feel is a more effective exercise order. But in general, these are good rules of thumb for you to follow when getting started.
"Processed" is in quotes here because there is no legal definition of the term. The International Food Information Council Foundation defines processed foods as "Any deliberate change in a food that occurs before it's available for us to eat." This is such a broad definition that it could constitute any food that's chopped, conveniently pre-packaged, canned, boxed, blended, and/or pre-cooked. In this respect, processed foods are not necessarily unhealthy. Examples of foods that are considered processed but are not unhealthy include low-sodium canned vegetables and fruit, whole-grain bars containing nuts and seeds, quick oatmeal, and almond drink.
Processed foods generally contain preservatives (e.g., sodium). Does adding preservatives to a food inherently make it unhealthy? Not necessarily. Preservatives serve the purpose of increasing the shelf life of foods so that they do not spoil as quickly. The real issue here is how healthy are the preservatives themselves and what, if any, effect do they have on the body over the long term. Artificial flavors, colors, and assorted chemicals may also be added to processed foods to make the food more palatable and appetizing. Are these manmade ingredients unhealthy for consumption over the long term? Again, not necessarily. But having said this, words of wisdom are in order here: take a balanced approach and eat foods from each of the food groups daily and in moderation (i.e., fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods) to ensure you get plenty of vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy life free of disease and sickness.
BOTTOM LINE: Not all processed foods are bad for your health. Be sure to reduce your consumption of processed foods that contain high amounts of sodium, sugar and fats.
When many people experience chronic pain (pain lasting from three to six months), they tend to avoid exercise for fear of increasing their pain or causing some kind of damage. These people would rather go to the doctor for a prescription pain medication instead. Guess what? That's the worst thing you can do. Better to engage in some physical activity instead. Exercise is the safest form of pain therapy you can do and the best part: there are NO SIDE EFFECTS other than the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkiller. Unfortunately many of the drugs available on the market today DO have adverse side effects. Something as simple as daily walking is a superb exercise that may reduce chronic pain. Strive to incrementally increase the distance you walk on a daily basis. Strength training with weights is another excellent exercise that may reduce chronic pain such as arthritis as well as back and knee pain. No published study has ever determined that exercise is harmful. On the contrary, there's plenty of evidence from studies supporting that physical activity actually REDUCES chronic pain. So get out there and exercise!
This is a myth that just will never die as long as the media continues to perpetuate the false hope that simply performing ab crunches will magically flatten your stomach. The confusion may lie in the belief that contracting the abdominal musculature will somehow burn subcutaneous bodyfat (the fat found just under your skin). Unfortunately the body does not work that way. If nothing else, remember this: muscles lie under a subcutaneous fat layer. You can perform ab crunches until the cows come home but you won't be able to display a ripped midsection until that fat layer is reduced. The good news is that performing abdominal crunches (or any ab exercise) is not a waste of time because the ab muscles will continue to get stronger and will become more defined provided the ab fat diminishes.
How can you burn away the abdominal bodyfat? Not surprising news here but I'll enumerate the key points below:
Vegetables and whole grains tend to be relatively high in fiber which improves insulin sensitivity. This means the body will more efficiently use glucose for energy rather than for bodyfat storage. Fibrous foods also reduce appetite so you'll likely eat less foods overall. Examples of fibrous vegetables include broccoli (no surprise here), carrots, beans, peas, cauliflower, soybeans, spinach, and sweet potatoes. Examples of whole grain foods include brown rice, buckwheat, popcorn, shredded wheat, whole rye bread, whole grain bread, whole grain cereal, and wild rice.
BOTTOM LINE: To get a flat belly, you've got to be more active by performing cardio regularly (along with weight training) and eating good lean foods that are high in fiber such as vegetables and whole grains. Eating right and exercising regularly are the keys to flattening your belly, not performing endless abdominal crunches (!)
Most people know that eating too much sugar may lead to chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Excessive sugar intake has also been linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and fatty liver disease. Now a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found that eating too much sugar may increase the risk of heart disease, the top chronic disease killer of Americans. It's important to note that sugar in and of itself is not the problem because many natural healthy foods such as fruit contain sugar. Fruit also contains fiber and nutrients which lessen the impact sugar has on the body.
The main issue brought into focus with this study is the increased risk of heart disease for those Americans who eat food containing too much added sugar. Most of the processed foods we eat contain added sugar to improve flavor and texture. The biggest culprit by far is soda. One 12-oz can of soda contains 9 teaspoons of sugar amounting to 140 calories! What harm can drinking just one can of soda have on your health? Plenty. Especially if you drink a can of soda daily--it all adds up over time and can have a deleterious effect on your health before you know it. Other foods to watch out for include baked goods such as cakes, pies, and cookies as well as fruit drinks, candy, yogurt with added fruit, and ice cream.
So what is a healthy amount of sugar you can eat without increasing your risk of heart disease? The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends less than 25% of your daily caloric intake should come from added sugar. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends less than 10% of your daily calories should come from added sugar. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends men should eat less than 150 calories (nine teaspoons) and women should eat less than 100 calories (six teaspoons) daily from added sugar. With all of these conflicting recommendations, what guideline should we follow? Nearly three out of four Americans eat more than 10% of their daily calories from added sugar while 10% consume about a quarter or more of their calories from added sugar. This study found that Americans who get about 15% of their calories from added sugar had almost a 20% increased risk of heart disease compared to diets containing little or no added sugar. The study also found that those who ate from 17 to 21% of their calories from added sugar had almost a 40% increased risk of heart disease. Finally, those who ate more than 21% of their calories from added sugar had almost an 80% increased risk (!) of heart disease. So clearly one should eat no more than 15% of their calories from added sugar (300 calories in a 2000-calorie diet) to lessen the risk (i.e., one in five chance) of incurring heart disease.
How can you track the amount of added sugar you're eating? Simply read the nutrition labels of foods and pay attention to words with the suffix -ose. Examples include fructose, maltose and sucrose. Also be aware of foods which contain any kind of syrup (e.g., corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, etc.).
When you go to the gym, the worst thing you can do is to only work on certain muscles at the expense of others. For instance, most guys like to focus on the "vanity" muscles--the ones you see in the mirror such as chest and biceps. But what about the antagonist muscles such as back and triceps? By neglecting the muscles you don't see in the mirror you risk incurring chronic muscle soreness and possible injury. Remember, it's all about balance. Balance in terms of strength and and balance in terms of flexibility between opposing muscle groups (e.g., biceps and triceps). You'd serve your body well by training in a manner that's comprehensive when it comes to exercising your muscles. There are, after all, over 600 muscles in your body! Be sure to give equal treatment to the muscles in front of your body as well as the rear. Consider a push-pull split routine in which you train only the push exercises one day and then the pull exercises the next day. For example, push exercises include bench presses for chest and overhead barbell extensions for triceps. Pull exercises include barbell rows for back and dumbbell curls for biceps.
We tend to gravitate toward exercises and stretches that we're familiar with and feel comfortable doing. The problem is your body most likely needs more than this in order to be pain-free and stronger. Your brain which controls bodily movement has learned to move a certain way in order to avoid pain. The problem is that this "certain way" of moving may not be conducive to your health and well-being. You've subconsciously learned to move in a way to avoid pain for better or worse. The end result: your brain has learned to process an abnormal movement as a normal movement as a means to prevent pain. The idea here is to step out of your comfort zone that your brain (and therefore your body) has adapted to for such a long time. The unfortunate aspect of training from one day to the next is that you most likely do not realize you're exercising within your comfort zone. You've become so used to training a certain way that your body has learned to adapt to an abnormal movement pattern. Remember, adaptation is the enemy of progress. A knowledgable personal trainer and/or a physical therapist may be an invaluable resource for you to realize and then learn how to break away from a faulty movement pattern that may be causing chronic muscle pain.
BOTTOM LINE: In addition to performing exercises you like such as the bench press (which precipitates anterior shoulder tonicity), be sure to include exercises you need such as the pec-dec flye (which encourages anterior shoulder flexibility) as well. In addition, be sure to work the core muscles (e.g., glutes, abdominals, lower back and hamstrings) of your body to lessen possible muscle imbalances which may precipitate joint pain and injury. Strengthen weak muscles (typically upper back, abdominals, hamstrings, glutes and abdominals) and stretch tight muscles (typically anterior shoulder, chest, abdominals, lats, lower back, hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves). Heeding this advice will save you years of needless chronic pain due to muscle imbalances.
Back pain, particularly lower back pain, can strike at any time. Maintaining or increasing the strength of the muscles of the back can prevent or at least lessen the severity of back pain. Here are some exercises you can do outside the gym to keep your lower back healthy and pain-free:
Note: Perform 1 - 3 sets of 12 - 15 reps of each exercise.
This list of exercises is by no means exhaustive but is comprehensive in terms of strengthening the core muscles (i.e., abdominals, lower back, gluteals, and hamstrings) of your body. Performing several of these exercises 3 to 5 times per week will sufficiently strengthen your core, reducing the risk of lower back injury and ameliorate the severity of lower back pain.