Why is working your core so important???
Think of your core muscles as the foundation of your body. It is the central link in a chain connecting your upper body and lower body. Whether you are hitting a baseball or vacuuming the rug, the necessary motions originate in your core, or move through it.
No matter where the motion starts, it translates upward and downward to adjoining links of the chain. Therefore, weak, or unstable core muscles can impair how well your arms and leg’s function. And that will affect how powerful your movement patterns are. Properly strengthening our core muscles improves your power. A strong core also enhances balance and stability. Therefore, it can help prevent falls and injuries during your normal day and sports activities. In fact, a strong core underpins almost everything you do. This includes:
1) Everyday tasks- such bending to put your shoes on or picking up a package from the floor or even bathing or dressing- balancing on one leg to slip the leg of your pants on.
2) Physical jobs- a strong core is also very necessary for jobs that include twisting, lifting, pushing, and pulling demanding loads and prolonged standing.
3) Desk jobs- though this can be more sedentary, you still need to utilize your core muscles to practice good posture to avoid stiffness and soreness. However now, there are stand up desks that avoid prolonged sitting, having a strong core also gives you endurance to stand longer.
4) A healthy back – is one that is strong and supported by a solid core. Low back pain affects 80% of people and, maybe prevented by exercises that promote well-balanced, resilient core muscles. When you suffer from back pain, a regimen of core exercises is often indicated to treat it in conjunction with other medications and treatments.
5) Sports and leisure activities – such as golfing, tennis, biking, running, and swimming to just name a few are powered by a strong core and enhance agility, control, and precision.
6) Housework/yardwork- these tasks a require a strong core that stabilizes your body, allowing you to move in any direction, even on uneven surfaces, or standing in one spot without losing your balance. Core exercises lessen your risk of falling.
7) Good posture – weak core muscles contribute to slouching. Good posture trims your shape and projects confidence. More importantly, it lessens wear and tear on the spine and allows you to breathe deeply and more efficiently.
So here are three great core exercises for you to try:
• Begin lying on your back with your legs bent.
• Lift your legs and arms off the ground, keeping your knees bent. Lower one arm to the ground and lower your opposite leg at the same time. Repeat with your opposite arm and leg, then continue this movement. Try this 10 times and increase to 2 sets of 10 if you can.
• Make sure to keep your abdominals stiff as you lower your arm and leg, and do not let your low back arch off the ground.
• Begin lying on your front, propped up on your elbows.
• Engage your abdominal muscles and lift your hips and legs up into a plank position, keeping your elbows directly under your shoulders. Hold this position. If this is too challenged or causes back discomfort, go onto your knees. Hold 20-30 seconds, 3 times. If you cannot go that long, try 10-15 seconds to start.
• Make sure to keep your back straight and maintain a gentle chin tuck during the exercise.
Begin on all fours, with your arms positioned directly under your shoulders.
• Straighten one arm and your opposite leg at the same time, until they are parallel to the floor. Hold briefly, then return to the starting position.
• Make sure to keep your abdominals tight and hips level during the exercise.
As always, feel free to reach out to your favorite Physical Therapist to get more specifics on the right core program for you!