When you think about “core strength” … what do you think of? Six-pack abs? A flat tummy? A tiny waist? The truth is that is exactly what comes to mind for most people when they think about their “core” however, your core strength affects much more than the way you look! And at times, the six-pack abs everyone is dying for, can be detrimental to your health.
The truth is nearly every move you make engages your core muscles.
They help you:
- Sit up straight
- Bend over to tie your shoes
- Pick up your child or grandchild
- Drive to and from work
- Do simple tasks like rolling over in bed at night
- So much more…
And, thus your core muscles have a huge impact on your overall health, both physically and emotionally!
For one quick example, did you know that bunions, plantar fasciitis and shin splints can often be a direct correlation of your abdominal wall working correctly? And you can get surgery or different shoes all you want to but they will come back if you’re not correctly working your core and body in synchronicity.
So, let’s talk about your CORE!
Your core isn’t just the “ab” muscles in the front of your stomach.
- The muscles in your sides
- The deep transverse abdominis muscles inside your midsection
- Your diaphragm
- The muscles along your spine
- The muscles in your low back
- Your pelvic floor muscles
- And some experts even include your lats (mid/upper back), hips and glutes.
Together these muscles work together to stabilize the lumbar spine through the pelvis and are considered the bridge between the spine and the legs. Core training without hip and glute training is useless and will do little to improve your performance and overall results, AND can be quite detrimental in isolation.
It’s easy to see how these muscle groups are crucial to one another and the overall movement of our body. A neuroscience mantra is “Muscles that fire together, wire together”
So, if you’re like most people in our current society who sit for LONG periods of time each day and are not getting the proper movement patterns to strengthen this group of muscles together, you can experience what is known as muscle “amnesia” which can lead to other muscles stepping in to take over what the lost muscles can’t.
Some of the things a disconnected CORE might lead to are:
- Severe imbalances in the body
- Knee pain
- Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Hip Pain
- Poor Posture
- Difficulty breathing
- Poor Digestion
- Lost balance and stability
- Generally feeling a little tight, weak, and achy.
- An injury in the body.
- The inability for your body to detox properly
- Poor Mood and Self-esteem…
Well, that’s a lot to take in!
So, here are just a few ways you can keep your core strong, stable, and aligned! ?
- One simple step is sitting or standing up straight! Just being conscious of your posture can allow you to make changes. Setting an alarm at your computer every 15 minutes to sit up straight and every 30 minutes to get up and walk around goes a long way!
- In addition to these small and powerful changes, and possibly more important is to have a safe and functional movement regimen to your routine that will work the core with each movement. This includes squats, lunge, bend, push, pull and twist! Once you are certain that your form is correct with these movements, you can even add these movements a couple times a day during your seated work day in addition to the above.
- Ideally you also want to stay away from constant and repetitive cardio programs, like running and biking without adding in these regular functional movement patterns as they can lead to muscular imbalances in the body that compound over time.
- Work with a professional to remedy tight, weak muscles and imbalances and create a scientific program to maintain a strong core and aligned spine and posture.
Your body and mind will thank you in the long run!