Why is a strong core so important?
For years, you’ve heard about the importance of cardio exercise because of the benefits to your heart and lungs, and strength training for metabolism, bone density, and balance. In the past decade or so, however, it seems every medical newsletter and fitness magazine is publishing articles about the importance of building a strong core. If you have a flat stomach, does that mean you’re okay?
The answer is more complex than how you look from the outside. Your core constitutes the most important muscle group in your body and includes more than just your abdominals. Think about your body like a tree. Your arms and legs are the branches and roots, and your abdomen, pelvis, and back represent the trunk or core of the tree.
Just like the tree, in order to stand straight up and down, maintain your balance, and prevent breakage, you need to strengthen the muscles in your “trunk”. One of the most vital functions of core muscles is to stabilize your spine because instability in the spine can cause chronic back, hip, knee, or neck pain.
How do I know if I have a weak core?
TV’s, computers, handheld electronics, and desk jobs are all reasons why Americans are spending more time sitting down. As the population has grown increasingly sedentary, many people are now dealing with weak or inadequate cores. Below is a list of issues that you may develop if you fall into this group:
- Lower back pain: absent a serious back condition, is often due to weakness in the muscles surrounding your spine.
- Poor posture: If you have trouble sitting straight without support or standing up for a period, such as waiting in line.
- General weakness: Having difficulty performing everyday tasks like lifting, pushing, kicking. or throwing are all indicators that the real problem is a weak core.
- Bad balance: Your core is responsible for stabilizing your entire body, which is what gives you balance.
There are two simple tests you can perform to evaluate your core. First, close your eyes and lift one foot and then the other. If you can’t maintain balance, it may be due to an underdeveloped core. Second, try holding a “plank”, which is done by getting into the push-up position and balancing on your lower arms with your hands clasped in front of you. If you can’t hold a plank for a minute, your core may need work.
How do I fix the problem?
One of the top exercise routines for strengthening your core is Pilates. Each individual movement you’ll do in class includes an element of strengthening, toning, and flexibility. And every single movement also works on building a strong core.
After as little as a month you should see results, from standing up straighter to feeling more comfortable and less stiff to better balance and a boost in overall strength.
Call or click online today and get started with a free introductory class as Propel Pilates. You’ll be amazed at the full-body transformation you can achieve.