01 Jul What’s so important about our ‘core’?
What does it mean to ‘engage our core’ and why is it so important?
What is our ‘core’?
This is the term used to describe the 29 different muscles that work together to to give you balance and stability. These muscles can be broken down into groups: 1) abdominal muscles (external obliques, the side muscles; rectus abdominis, the longer front muscle; and the deeper internal oblique and transverse abdomens), 2) the deep muscles in the pelvic region 3) which in turn connect to muscles in your back and legs. These muscles are involved in everything we do: squatting, sitting, bending, twisting, running, walking, standing, etc. When these muscles are weak we are susceptible to poor posture, injury and back pain. As we get older keeping the core strong is even more important. Strengthening these muscles will keep them from becoming lazy and will help lessen problems with joint instability and balance.
How can we strengthen these muscles?
You can do exercises like sit-ups and planks that will help to strengthen this area, but these muscles can also be strengthened while doing other exercises too.
By ‘engaging’ (or tightening) the muscles that make up our core when we perform squats, lunges and resistance training we can continue to strengthen these important muscles. Swiss balls and the Bosu are great for working these muscles as well. Doing exercises with this equipment forces you to use these stabilising muscles to keep you balanced during the exercise.
Remember to engage these muscles in all that you do throughout the day and you’ll be on your way to a stronger core.