When fitness-conscious people reference their “core strength,” what exactly are they talking about? As you might guess, the word “core” refers to the muscle groups in the body’s midsection. These include the abs, obliques, lower lats, and various other muscles that help the body with overall stability and motion. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of strengthening your core. Regardless of where motion occurs in your body, it must travel through your midsection, and well-developed muscles in this area can have benefits that ripple throughout the body. Furthermore, a strong core can prevent injury, improve quality-of-life, and even lessen the severity of certain health conditions.
One of the most important reasons to maintain a strong core is to stave off back pain and other musculoskeletal problems. Once we hit middle age, back pain (especially lower-back pain) becomes increasingly likely. Back pain can be extraordinarily painful, even debilitating, for many people, but maintaining a strong core can make back pain less likely or, if it does develop, less severe. Happily, good core strength can usually be attained and maintained through exercise and lifestyle adjustments.
Unfortunately, some back-pain issues have a strong genetic component, meaning they may develop regardless of behavior. A strong core may not be able to prevent genetic back disorders, but it can help make the symptoms more manageable. A healthy core can even help relieve back pain after it has developed. In fact, doctors and other healthcare providers sometimes prescribe a regimen of core-strengthening exercises to people experiencing back pain.
Another benefit of a strong core is that it can make everyday tasks easier and safer. Standing or sitting for extended periods, bending over to pick something up, or even just quickly turning around can be made more effortless with a strong core. And although these mundane tasks are uneventful 99% of the time, they’re more likely to result in injury or induce pain if your core is weak. If you have a job or hobby that requires physical exertion, a stable core is of course invaluable. You really must engage your core for almost everything you do.
If you’re ready to start attaining the balance, stability, injury-prevention, and overall health benefits of a strong, healthy core, experts recommend a variety of exercises. Abdominal lifts/crunches, planks, leg-raises, leg-presses, certain yoga poses, and many other exercises can be done on your bedroom floor with zero equipment. However, to avoid injury and get the best results, we strongly recommend learning these exercises from an expert before attempting them on your own. Find a well-regarded, licensed, and experienced physical therapist or personal trainer to do a few sessions with. In the meantime, simply paying attention to your posture and sitting/standing up straight can help with core strength, which in turn makes it easier to practice good posture.
The bottom line: no matter your age, gender, health status, etc., it’s likely you can benefit from a stronger core. It’s essential for athletes and office workers alike. At Village Park Senior Living, we offer several health, wellness, and exercise programs that can help you attain better core strength and much more. If you’re interested in learning more about assisted living, independent living, memory care, or any of the many programs & activities we offer, please contact Village Park Senior Living for more information. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for updates and to check back often for new blogs.