Lots of runners (walkers and hikers) think they just need to do cardio training and maybe a few leg exercises to be fit to finish. They’d be wrong. Studies show that upper body strength makes stronger runners, but only if they can translate that strength efficiently to their working legs. This happens through the torso or trunk. Fitness professionals call that your core. Without core strength, not only do the legs do all the work but they have to stabilize the upper body as it teeters.
Let’s think about that. First, picture the difference between carrying an alert toddler with arms wrapped around your neck. Then picture hoisting a squirming toddler or one who is sound asleep and falls completely lax. We used to call that “sack of potatoes.” You’d rather do the alert, not the sack, right? Don’t your legs have enough to do running your mileage without compensating for your uncooperative upper body at the same time?
Here are some core strengthening exercises demonstrated using a 65cm exercise ball.