Maybe you don’t have a six-pack but having strong core muscles are important. Strong back and abdominal muscles are necessary for lifting a 30 pound child, hitting a tennis ball or sweeping the floor. Just to do those motions originate in your core.
Personal trainers and yoga instructors always emphasize the “core muscles” of the body. Our core muscles are right around the abdomen and make up our torso. This includes the transverse and rectus abdominus – muscles running from just below the sternum to the waist, our lower and outer-middle of the back, and the obliques which run down our sides from the ribs to the upper hips.
If we allow our core muscles to weaken and become inflexible, this can take away power you need to perform everyday tasks. A strong core enhances balance and stability helping to prevent falls and injuries during sports or household chores.
· Everyday activities
Think of all the little moves you make throughout the day we tend to take for granted – bending over to tie a shoe, getting up out of a chair, twisting your body to look behind you – all rely on your core muscles. Just about all moves we make in our household duties require strong core muscles – vacuuming, mopping, dusting, gardening, climbing a ladder or carrying in groceries.
If the core muscles are not taken care of, when we become elderly, this can be a major reason why we cannot live independently anymore if we can’t manage everyday activities. Being frail leads to being unable to do simple tasks of getting in and out of a bathtub or dressing oneself – both which require strong core muscles.
A simple but effective exercise for building core stability is to draw in the abdominal muscles (think about your belly button pulling away from your pantline), hold for five breaths, and then relax. Repeat 10 times. Do this while driving, sitting, or standing in line.
· At work tasks
Whether you have a desk job or a much more physical one, all movements rely on core muscles. Any type of task involving twisting, lifting, or standing for long periods demand good core muscles. Even a desk job engages the core muscles. Typing, sitting up in a chair, computer use, all need a strong back that doesn’t become stiff or sore making the job much harder.
· Keeping your back healthy
Four out of five Americans at some point in their lives suffer from debilitating low back pain. This can be eliminated by exercising the core muscles. When back pain occurs, core exercises are often prescribed to relieve the pain along with medications, physical therapy, and other treatments as needed.
· Better sex
Yes, even sex benefits from having a strong core. Sex can be an extremely physical activity and if your core muscles are strong, you will be able to increase your stamina and perform better for longer periods of time.
· Sports activities
To power a sports activity, strong core muscles are necessary. Just about all sports rely on core strength for performance. For example, core exercises can keep runners’ legs and arms from tiring quickly. Baseball pitchers get the power for their curveballs as much from their core as they do their arms. Your core is the link between your upper and lower body, allowing a golfer to swing the club to strike the bass, or a tennis player to serve and optimize her racquet speed. From biking, running, swimming, playing basketball, kayaking, rowing or any other athletic activities all call for core power and flexibility.
· Balance, stability and good posture
In order to stabilize your body, your core muscles must be engaged to do so. Take a walk down a rock road and you will need those core muscles to balance yourself lessening the likelihood of falling.
When our core muscles are weak, we tend to slouch resulting in poor posture. Good posture makes you appear slimmer and projects confidence. Standing tall also lessens wear and tear on the spine and allows you to breathe deeply.
Learn how to strengthen and develop your core muscles and watch your life and health improve all around.