Understanding Core Strength and Why It’s Important For You
What is your core?
Did you know that your core is so much more than abs? While we think of the sculpted movie star six pack when we think of core, the core actually wraps around your whole body like a seatbelt. It is connected to your spine, bum, legs and chest, and like a seatbelt helps you keep safe and in stable positions. While there are over 15 muscles that make up this area, the really important ones are the ones connected to your spine, and the muscles connected to your legs and bum.
These help you sit up straight, stay balanced when walking and exercising, and help protect your important organs. We think the core is often forgotten during exercise, so we want to answer some of the commonly asked questions about the core and help shed some light on this important group of muscles.
Core vs abs.
As this picture demonstrates, the abs make up only a small fraction of the overall core muscle group. The muscles in the lower leg, backside and lower back all make up the most important part of the core, and when we do sit ups or crunches we don’t strengthen these muscles enough.
Excessive focus on our abdominals can cause muscle imbalances, and without a strong overall core can lead to eventual damage and injury. On top of this, the core muscles around our torso and back help protect our important organs like the kidneys, intestines, liver and pancreas, so just focusing on the abs doesn’t give the same protection as a total core strengthening program.
How do you strengthen your core?
Strengthening your core involves more exercises than just your typical sit-ups or crunches. At Live Life Get Active, we offer a wide range of fun activities that help strengthen your core muscles as a group, and our boxing, cross-training and yoga courses are free for everyone to participate in.
Plus, our classes are all at the local parklands, meaning you don’t have to go to the gym to start improving! Normal core and body weight exercises like planks, squats, push-ups and sit-ups also help contribute to a stronger core, and these can also be done without any fancy equipment.
An example of the popular plank exercise.
Why do I want to have a stronger core?
Having a strong core is so important for everyday life, and can really improve how you feel during the day. As said before, normal activities like sitting up straight, walking and even breathing are made easier and more efficient by how strong the core muscles are.
Better posture and less pain is something many of us need to improve, no matter what age or fitness level you are, and improved core strength helps this. Better strength also reduces the risk of having age-related health issues as we get older, avoiding lots of injuries to the hips, neck and back. These can really affect the quality of life for anyone.
Does having a stronger core improve my balance and stability?
Yes! The other major reason we aim to strengthen our core is that it improves our balance and stability. Balance is something we can take for granted, but is so important as we age and move into later life. Improving our balance helps us complete everyday activities without pain and risking injury, meaning we can lug the groceries around or play with our kids for longer and without pain.
On top of this, having less twisted ankles or broken wrists makes us able to get on with life hassle-free, improving our state of mind and mental health. Reducing the risk of falling and hurting ourselves is something that is important at all stages of life, no matter what age you are.
If you are interested in improving your core strength and stability but don’t know where to start, come and try out one of our free camps in the local parklands! We offer a wide variety of fun and interesting classes that strengthen your whole core, and even better we will show you how to strengthen it yourself to try out at home.