Why is it so important to look after your core?
It would be great if we all had a flat stomach and maybe even a six pack!!
Looking good on the beach is not the only reason we should get our abdominal muscles in shape. Your core is in fact your body’s powerhouse and helps you do everything from moving to supporting your inner organs and central nervous system – Simple everyday things from lifting a toddle, putting shopping away.
Preventing a sore back and having good posture are all easier with a strong core.
Here are 4 reasons to keep your core strong
1- Helps prevent injuries
Building a strong core will take more than just a few crunches.
There are 2 aspects to having a strong core
- Building core stability in the deep internal muscles close to the spine
- Build Core strength
Start by building core stability and get those deep muscles working first, and then work on the core strength, having a strong core will help improve your overall fitness and make you less prone to injury. Most movement of our body starts from the centre and moves out,. Having a rock solid core will make you stronger and movement pain free.
A simple but effective exerciser for building core stability is to draw in the abdominal muscles (think about your belly button pulling in towards your spine- hold for 5 breaths and then relax- repeat 10 times and do this 10 times daily – try it whilst you are exercising too.
Women don’t forget your pelvic floor, drawing in the pelvic floor- to strengthen the lower end of your core (the added bonus is better bladder control)
2- Protect your inner organs and central nervous system
Staying healthy also means protecting all that happen inside the body. In your core is not only where your organs and central nervous system do their work, it’s also where your body’s largest (and most import) veins and arteries are based.
Keeping strong core muscles will help ensure everything stays protected and you move through your day. For example your spinal cord, is really important and if you have pressure on it because it isn’t supported well by your core muscles then it will affect your movements, which could cause pain.
3- Banish Back Pain.
Back pain is a common side effect of a weak core. Building core strength helps balance the body to the front and back of your body.
Sitting at a desk all day doesn’t help. Be aware of how you sit, Many people can sit for a long time with a tilted pelvis and an arched back, rather than sitting “Tall”
4 - Get a Strong, Confident Posture,
If you have a strong core you will carry yourself with confidence and a tall upright posture that will improve core strength.
So how do we develop core stability and strength?
Include these exercises
The Plank –Full or half( on your elbows or knees) head in line with the spine and trunk flat pull in tum and hold very tightly for 10 secs breathing normally relax and then repeat
The Tabletop – on hands and knees hands under shoulders knees under hips, pull tummy in to support back and straighten right leg out and lift off floor, lifting left arm out in line with ear at same time. Hold for 2 seconds, find balance and lower, change sides and repeat.
The Bridge –lie on your back with your hand by your sides, your knees bent and feet flat on floor. Make sure your feet are under your knees, Tighten your abdominal and buttock muscles. Raise your hips up to create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Build up the length of time you hold the position for. With this exercise it is better to hold for a shorter period in the correct position than hold for longer in the incorrect one.
Also include squats, oblique twist. Press-ups reverse crunches and back extensions.
Pilates and yoga will also help.
Remember just because you are strong doesn’t mean you have strong core; it is something we all have to work at.