- Contrary to popular belief, your core does not refer to only your abs. It is a series of muscles wrapping around your trunk.
- Your core protects important veins and organs.
- Having a strong core significantly helps reduce the risk of back pain and injury, and is mandatory to have a well-balanced body.
What is the Core?
When “core” is mentioned, most people automatically think about abs. Though this is true — the abdominal muscles are a part of your core — the body’s core extends beyond this. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the core is a series of muscles that surrounds and supports the spine and provides stability. This includes your rectus abdominis, internal and external oblique and back muscles including the latissimus dorsi.
The core functions mainly as a stabilizer. It helps improve your body’s balance and facilitates the proper transfer and control of the force produced by the body. Working on your core strength helps protect the spine and back from injuries when you are performing day-to-day tasks like walking, sitting or running to the supermarket to grab a few groceries.
Why Do You Need a Strong Core?
Your core is where important veins and organs are located and a strong core helps protect these essential body parts. Strong core muscles also help protect your spinal cord, which is an important part of your central nervous system. A stable and strong core helps ensure that your body is functioning well and assists you in maintaining good posture, reducing stress on your ligaments.
Failing to spend time strengthening your core muscles can be dangerous, especially when you are executing strenuous tasks like squats, deadlifts or simply lifting a heavy piece of furniture at home. A strong core reduces the risk of back injuries caused by sudden, uncontrolled movements.
Core strengthening exercises are often taken for granted and mostly overlooked during fitness; but most of the movements we make start at the body’s center and move outward to the limbs. This means strengthening your core is vital whether you go to the gym or not. If the core is weak, then there is a high risk of back pain or injury.
Thankfully, most core exercises can be done without using equipment and performed almost anywhere. Here are a few exercises you can do to strengthen your core.
This exercise starts in a standard push-up position. Lower your forearms on the floor right under your shoulders and hold the position for one minute.
Designed to target your oblique, a side bridge is performed by first lying on your side. Carefully lift your body onto your forearm and knee for support. Hold the position for one minute before repeating it on the other side.
This is one of the most popular core exercises. Simply lay on your back and keep your knees slightly bent. Cross your arms over your chest and carefully raise your upper body off the ground by flexing your abs and then repeating the motion.
Every person is different, and what may be applicable to one might not be appropriate for another. Try different things to find the best fit, and remember to consult your physician before committing to any type of workout.
A strong core offers countless benefits; and a stable, well-balanced body will help you cope with a wide range of activities and reduce the risk of back pain and injuries. Start spending even five minutes a day showing your core some much needed TLC.