Trainers are always talking about the importance of core strength. Here is what you need to know about why core strength is so important.
Your “core”, as the name implies, is at the center of your body. It encompasses your abs, hips, back and chest. Your core stabilizes your body, allowing you to move in any direction as well as having proper balance. It helps prevent falls and supports your body. Core strengthening is more than just achieving six-pack abs. Having a strong core is beneficial to everyone because it allows your body to do what you need your body to do – function properly.
Improves Balance & Stability Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work together. This helps lead to better balance and stability making daily activities such as walking, running and sitting much easier. A strong core consists of muscles that work together to support your body. This will make you less susceptible to injuries, keeping your body aligned and minimizing strain on your muscles and joints.
Helps Eliminate Back Pain Your abdominal muscles work in conjunction with your back muscles when bending, straightening or lifting. You could be more prone to back pain with a weak core. When your body is aligned and upright, it will make you less prone to have back pain. If your core is weak, then other structures of your back will have to work harder to support your body. This can then lead to muscle strains and back pain.
Improves Posture Good posture can decrease wear and tear on your spine and allow you to breathe deeply, making it easier for oxygen to travel through your muscles so they can contract. An upright posture can also help you survive sitting or standing for long periods of time. It is important to have a strengthened core because it keeps your body aligned, eliminates back pain and increases your overall exercise output.
Here is a recommendation to start with: 10 minutes of core exercises, twice a day, morning and evening. To start, choose three core exercises and repeat as three sets of 10 repetitions. Select simple exercises such as Birddogs, Glute Bridges or Kneeling Side Planks and focus on safety and form before moving on to more repetitions, more sets or more complex exercises. Your body will often indicate how far you can go and tell you when it is ready to advance to a higher level of training. Also engage in proper breathing and move at a pace that won’t compromise the goal and form of the exercise. Pilates is an incredible core (glutes, hips, abdominals, and back) based practice that tones the underlying muscles of the body that typical exercises such as squats, crunches, or push-ups cannot get to. Try our on-demand Mat Pilates workout in the convenience of your home to improve your posture and flexibility.
For a professional core evaluation, schedule an appointment with one of our certified personal trainers at the Fitness Desk.
If you have any further questions or to find out where you can find core equipment on our Fitness Floor, reach out to any of our Fitness Representatives or Personal Trainers.
Thanks to Jenna Amazzalorso-Kwasek, Franciscan Health Fitness Centers Chicago Heights Program Leader, for writing this blog.