Strengthening Your Core

Kahlil Carmichael MAPCC, MDIV, CPT is the pastor of Live Well Church, in Somerset, New Jersey.
He is a fitness specialist at The Fitness Doctor, a fitness and wellness consulting company; and the
author of 50 Tips for a Better You. He is a contributor to Guideposts magazine. His first publication,
Living Longer Living Better, is available now. Go to for more information.

And just like that–summer is over. Young ones are back in classes and activities–the September whirlwind of excitement. No matter our age, we can all go “back to school” and strengthen our core. We can continue to educate ourselves regarding our bodies and fitness, and take our health to a new level. Your age is the right age to begin a modest exercise plan and to trend up! Your weight is the perfect weight to start walking and then add light weight-lifting to increase results. This is the right time to start—don’t postpone living better.

Although you may have specific body parts you’d like to condition more, the best and least traumatic overall exercise is one where you don’t need equipment. That’s right, lace up your walking shoes and hit the road. Walking is aerobic exercise, literally meaning “with oxygen.” It helps strengthen your cardiovascular system–your heart and blood vessels—which supplies your organs with needed oxygen and nutrients to support your body. Strengthen it by doing a bit more every day! As you push forward you may be a bit out of breath. Monitor and listen to your body, but strive for more.

As a fitness professional, I know the value of having a trainer. A trainer can set you up with an exercise plan tailored for your current fitness level, desired outcome, and time constraints. This limits any frustration you may develop due to not knowing what to do and will help you work smart. As you become more fit, you will instinctively begin to challenge yourself.

I also recommend clean eating. It is a discipline that is the biggest struggle and can make the largest impact. What does it mean to eat clean? Eliminate high-calorie items like fried foods and sugary treats. By eliminating these empty calories, you will be surprised by the quantity of healthy foods you can eat and still be within your caloric limit, so you will be full of good foods. To lose weight you have to use or burn more calories than you consume. It’s simple, not easy. But it is attainable! If going cold turkey is not your thing, make decisions daily to cut back on unhealthy foods. Before you know it, you will be eating more vegetables, eliminating soda and fast food! In addition to weight loss, the benefits of a healthier diet are clearer skin, better sleep, less inflammation, and the improvement of chronic conditions like gout and heart failure.

Check this YouTube link to my 12-minute workout you can do 3 days per week at home. It provides overall conditioning, but also targeted exercises for arms and your aerobic system. . Strengthen your core, believe for better! You can do it! Before starting any fitness program, please get your doctor’s approval, especially if you have chronic health conditions.

Live well and prosper.