Written by Lina Bernal
3 minute read
Many people think of the core as a nice pair of “sculpted abs” and they work hard to try and achieve that, a goal that takes time and a lot of persistence. But do they really know the real benefits of a strong core? Is there more to it than just “looking good”? Let’s find out!
The core is the central set of muscles in the torso, encompassing the abdomen muscles, hips, lower back, and pelvic muscles. These muscles are important as with every movement, they work together in synchrony to move the body and maintain balance. They also help to maintain good posture so you can perform everyday activities such as sitting, standing, walking, and running.
Imagine your core as a central hub connecting your lower and upper body. In this central hub, all the movements of your body originate or move through it in a stable manner. No matter where the movement begins, the movement ripples up or down throughout your body and helps to coordinate the movement of your arms and legs . This means a strong and flexible core supports almost everything you do.
You might ask – why is all of this important?
As mentioned, the core is this central force that we use all the time in our daily activities; however, we may not be aware of how important and vital it is until we are limited in performing simple movements, such as walking, sitting, picking up a paper from the floor, playing sports, or just sitting for hours at a desk. All of these can be negatively impacted if you have a weak core.
Not sure if you have a weak core? Here are some common signs:
- Lumbar pain
- Bad posture
- Bad balance
- Low tolerance to standing
- Body weakness
- Difficulty breathing
Therefore, the stronger your core muscles are (not just your abs), the better your physical wellness will be. The benefits of a strong core include:
1. Eliminates back pain
The core supports the whole body– if it’s not strengthened, other structures of the back will work to support the body, which leads to muscle pain. When you strengthen your core, this helps to protect your lower back muscles, making you less prone to back pain and reducing the chances of injury.
2. Better stability, flexibility and balance
By strengthening the lower back and abdomen muscles, posture and stability improve. Eliminating stress and strain on the back gives you a greater range of motion and flexibility. In addition, as you train your core, balance and coordination improves as well, since performing core exercises stimulates the brain area that affects coordination, spatial awareness, and balance.
3. Run faster
The stronger your core, the better runner you’ll be. A strong core helps to maintain an upright torso, which allows your lower back, pelvis, and hips to work together more smoothly. Also, because your arms and legs are all connected to your core, the stronger your torso is, the more power you produce with each step.
4. Maintains an upright posture and improves breathing
Wear and tear on the muscles surrounding the spine leads to poor posture, which could also lead to shortness of breath. An upright posture makes it easier for oxygen to travel through the muscles so they can properly contract and also allows your diaphragm to contract, allowing you to breath deeper. Bonus benefit: maintaining an upright posture can also help project confidence – try it out next time you have an important event!
Now that we know the benefits of a strong core, how do you strengthen it?
Some example exercises include jack knives, mountain climbers, planks, side planks, and deadbugs. All these exercises are basic and effective exercises that you can do at home with no special equipment, all you need is a carpeted floor or a mat. Need more inspiration? Learn more exercises here.
Now that you know the positive impact of developing core strength are you ready to get faster, stronger, and improve your physical health? Now it’s your turn to start today.
Have any other core exercises you enjoy? Share them below!