Fortunately for us, we were young. Any damage we caused by going from zero to sixty while doing sits ups on a concrete surface were erased by the benefits of youth. Unfortunately, this model of exercise, like the memories of that fateful day have stuck with us. We hear our doctors talk about it, hear it on the news, that one really fit friend tells us " Core strength is important". The obvious choice is to start doing those crunches and get stronger. This is in itself not a problem, but allow me to help you make an informed choice about your exercise.
Let me start by saying if you have ever experienced low back pain to any extent or are currently in pain crunches do exactly what the name implies, it crunches your back and is almost certainly making things worse. If you have a strong core and perfect form crunches are effective, but we live in an imperfect world. The weak core gives out but we keep pushing, form breaks down and we start using compensatory muscles. The majority of the pressure ends up being carried by your spine, oops!
Allow me to introduce you to another grade school favorite (if you were a boy, maybe much more so) The Dead Bug.
Everyone is right by the way, a strong core helps support the spine and prevents early onset arthritis and degeneration that can lead to debilitating issues later in life. But next time you try to strengthen those core muscles, keep your spine in mind.