During the winter of 2008, my son and I left North Carolina to live in the mountains of Oregon for three months, while I trained for my first half marathon.  It just so happened that due to the extreme weather conditions that specific winter, I was forced to utilize every muscle in my body while I ran long distances through snow, wind and extreme cold. Let's just say that I was in the best shape of my life.  It must have showed on me, because as I sat in my son's favorite book store one day, after one of my longer runs, he started to sing a melody that he had made up called, "She's Got Mad Abs."  I loved it.  Well of course, I love him.  But not the point.  I have always been conscious of my core muscles since the first day I trained to become a Step Aerobics Instructor back in 1991.  Posture is everything in those classes.  Good form comes with great core strength.  I believe that everything you do involves the core muscles (transverse abdominis, internal obliques, external obliques, rectus abdominis, hip abductors/adductors, hip flexors, and lumbar spine), and if they are weak, everything you do requires additional concentration on keeping the core muscles contracted and stabilized.  So, while running outside, joining a Cycle class, or strength training in the gym, there are more productive ways of focusing on the core muscles leading to a healthier, happier body.

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