10 Jan Benefits of a Strong Core
When talking about fitness, many people think of abdominal muscles or the “6-pack” when they hear the word core mentioned. The core is made up of several muscles including muscles of the low back, hip muscles, abdominals, and deep muscles surrounding the spine. Exercisers often seek to get that “6-pack”, however if the abdominal muscles are over trained and the other supporting muscles under trained this can often lead to injury and decrease athletic performance.
Think of the muscles of your core as the central link in your body connecting your upper and lower body. Most all movement for activity is originated from the core. Whether you are throwing a bone for your dog to fetch or mopping the floor the movement starts at the core or moves through it. Core weakness, imbalances, or inflexibility can impair how well your arms and legs move and can sap power from the moves you do make.
A strong core creates balance and stability, thus decreases the risk of falls throughout the day and prevents injuries during sports. From seemingly small activities of bending over to tie your shoes, turning to put clothes in the washer, standing up tall for long periods of time to more dynamic activities of swinging a bat, swimming, and riding a bike, the core is involved. Building a strong core helps you to maintain a proper posture and puts less stress on your low back and spine. Over time stress on the discs of the low back can cause pain not only in your back, but pain that radiates down into your legs.
Back pain is something 4 out of 5 Americans suffer from.
A few exercises to help strengthen and build the muscles of the core are: BRIDGES, STRAIGHT LEG RAISES, EXERCISES ON THE SWISS BALL, PLANKS, SIDE PLANKS, CRUNCHES, SUPERMANS, and BIRD DOGS. These are just a few exercises for building a strong core, and there are many more. To get a visual you can Google any of the above exercises for an explanation and how to perform them correctly and safely.
Cory Lee, LPTA, RRCA-Certified Running Coach
Owner Pro Physical Therapy in Mantachie