Why Core Strength Is More Important Than You Think
When most people hear “core” in fitness, they think that means six-pack abs. And while having a six-pack would undoubtedly be a great fitness achievement, true core strength goes beyond just the aesthetics of abs.
When we talk about strengthening the core, we’re not just talking about abs. Those front-facing ab muscles on your lower trunk are just one side of your box-shaped core. We’re talking about all of the muscles that make up your trunk or midsection. Your core includes the ab muscles in the front, the lower back muscles, your glutes in the back, your diaphragm on top, and the pelvic floor and hip muscles on the bottom.
Core strength is actually important for overall health and fitness. The core muscles stabilize the center of the body, and all of our movements come from this zone.
Your core stabilizes your body, allowing you to move in any direction or stand in one spot without losing your balance. With a stronger core, you have a stronger support system to maintain your sense of balance. This allows you to move freely and perform any activity without worrying about toppling over. This becomes increasingly important as we get older, as we become more susceptible to falling as we age. It’s important to train your core through all stages of life to lessen your risk of falling in advanced age.
Ease of Everyday Movement
Whether at home or at work, core strength is the essential driving force behind all actions. For example, housework such as vacuuming, mopping, dusting, carrying laundry baskets, or reaching overhead all require acts that originate or pass through the core.
Jobs that require lifting, twisting, and standing for long periods obviously rely on the core. But even less obvious tasks–like sitting at a desk all day–still engage your core as well. Repetitive actions like typing on a computer or making phone calls can cause your back muscles to become stiff and sore, especially if you have bad posture or don’t take enough breaks.
Core strength is what allows us to move through our life with ease–from athletic activity to everyday actions. We underestimate how much we actually depend on our core. Mundane actions like bending down to pick something up, getting up from a chair–even basic activities of daily living like bathing or dressing–rely on your core. These acts may not be something you notice until they become difficult or painful to do.
With a strong core, we build the foundation to support our body’s movements. Things like using our limbs, bending, twisting, etc. become easier with consistent core strength training.
When you train your core muscles, you surround your spine with a firm structure to (literally) lean on. Weak core muscles contribute to slouching. Having a strong core helps keep your back upright without thinking about it. This is what fitness is all about: helping your body function well with little thought necessary.
Maintaining good posture provides several benefits, such as improving your breathing, concentration, and confidence. Good posture lessens the wear and tear on your spine and allows you to breathe deeply, making it easier for oxygen to travel through your muscles so they can contract.
An upright posture lets you sit or stand for longer periods of time without feeling pain. A strengthened core keeps your body aligned, eliminates back pain, and helps you gain the full benefits of your exercise efforts.
Another benefit of core conditioning is that it helps prevent injuries. Having a strong core provides more support for our bones, muscles, and joints as we perform our daily activities. This makes us better equipped to catch ourselves if we trip, preventing a fall that could result in injury. This becomes particularly important as we get older, as it becomes more difficult to recover from a bad falling injury. By strengthening your core, you can live a healthier–and possibly longer–life.
Core exercises train the muscles in your lower back, pelvis, hips, and abdomen to work together. The stronger your core, the smoother your muscles work together to support your body. This keeps your body aligned, minimizes strain on your muscles and joints, and makes you less susceptible to injuries.
Prevent Back Pain
Your core is at the center of your body, which means it supports your entire body, especially the neck and the back. If your core is weak, the other structures of your back will have to work harder to support the body. This is what leads to muscle strains and back pain.
Lower back pain can be a debilitating and excruciating problem–and it affects four out of five Americans at some point in their lives. In these cases, a regimen of core exercises is often prescribed to relieve it. Get ahead of the problem by regularly doing exercises that promote well-balanced, resilient core muscles. A healthy back that is aligned and upright will make your less prone to have back pain.
The importance of building core strength goes beyond its fitness benefits. While it does work to improve athletic performance of any kind, core strength also improves your quality of life and any stage of life. If you are looking to improve your core strength–and your life–look no further than one of our many locations. Our personal trainers will develop tailored workouts to fit your level and needs, and guide you through every step of the way.