Core Exercises 3. Your core muscles are diverse, running down the front and back of the body, wrapping around your torso, and extending from the ribs to the pelvis. The network even includes your glutes, diaphragm, and hip flexor muscles. Together, the core muscles work hard to keep your torso stable, support various movements like flexion, extension, and rotation also, protecting the lower back from injury.
The entire core
Think of the entire core, as 360 degrees of support around the middle of your entire body. So then, not just your abdominal muscles. However, they are a part of the core. In addition, there are many common misconceptions about the core, even among fitness professionals. Here, most people probably think that the core is simply the abdominals, aka, the six-pack muscles. In particular, your core is not only where your organs and central nervous system do their busy work, it’s also where your body’s largest (and most important) veins and arteries are based.
Benefits of a strong core
IMPROVE YOUR BALANCE
Core Exercises 3. As we have discussed, many of your movements require the use of your core. Walking, hiking, and playing sports to name a few. When you change direction, you activate your core muscles. Given this, your core helps to stabilize your body and reduce the risk of falling. Consequently, I have noticed better balance as a result of working more on my core.
HELP ALLEVIATE BACK PAIN
Ah, near and dear to my heart is back pain. I have been dealing with back problems most of my adult life. But I never really understood the role that core muscles play in stabilizing the body. And how that can help with back problems. Here, back pain can be debilitating, been there done that let me tell you. However, by strengthening the muscles that support the spine, you are helping to take pressure off of the spine. So then, a strong core can help you maintain a healthy back. Furthermore, with a well-balanced approach, building and maintaining core strength can help to alleviate back pain. Hence, often core exercises are recommended as a way to combat back pain.
ACCOMPLISH EVERYDAY TASKS
I touched on this before, but so many of the movements we make during the day engage your core muscles. If you are picking up a grandchild, bending over to do a load of laundry. or the simple act of sitting in a chair all require core muscles to some extent. Also, getting dressed and putting your shoes on Engages your core muscles to help you along the way.
Besides, most of these tasks are mundane. In addition, we don’t even think about them until they become hard to do, or worse yet, painful. Therefore, a strong core can help you maintain your everyday life tasks.
Other everyday activities that require the core:
- Vacuuming carpets
- Scrubbing the floor or the shower
- Bending over
- Playing with your grandchildren
- Carrying objects like shopping bags
- Gardening (which needs you to be on your hands and knees)
Some of these activities require us to be on the ground, and just the act of getting to ground level and back up again will use core strength.
HELP IMPROVE POSTURE
No doubt having a weak core can lead to slouching. Do you ever see people in an office sitting on exercise balls? Well, that can help with core strength. However, I certainly see people who are sitting at their desks with a rounded lower back and they are slumping.
As an example, good posture helps you in many ways:
- Projects confidence
- You have less wear and tear on your spine
- Helps to reduce lower back pain
Here, we have discussed how core muscles can help you maintain balance and help with the everyday tasks you perform. But, a strong core can help prevent injuries as well. So then, putting all of these pieces together, a lot of movements start with or involve your core muscles.
Changing direction when you are carrying or lifting heavy objects around the house. you can be more likely to have an injury. A strong core can help you lift with your legs and not with your back, and this can be a huge benefit in helping to prevent an injury.
IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE
Getting down and up from the floor, playing with grandchildren, household chores. Generally, requires your upper and lower body to work together. And that motion flows through and requires a strong core. Consequently, improving core strength can have a profound effect on your performance.
1. Alternating Heel Touches
Core Exercises 3. Heel touches are a good crunch exercise for beginners as it promotes good form. Without your hands on the back of your head, you’ll be less likely to use jerky movements and momentum. This is a good exercise for the core abdominals.
Muscles Worked: Rectus Abdominis, Transverse Abdominis
How to do it.
- Lie on the floor with the knees bent and the feet on the floor around 18-24 inches apart. Your arms should be extended by your side. This will be your starting position.
- Crunch over your torso forward and up about 3-4 inches to the right side and touch your right heel as you hold the contraction for a second. Exhale while performing this movement.
- Now go back slowly to the starting position as you inhale.
- Now crunch over your torso forward and up around 3-4 inches to the left side and touch your left heel as you hold the contraction for a second. Exhale while performing this movement and then go back to the starting position as you inhale. Now that both heels have been touched, that is considered 1 repetition.
- Do 10 each side as 1 set, try to do 3 sets or whatever you can manage.
2. Windshield Wipers
Core Exercises 3. Here is a great core stabilization exercise. This one involves rotation from the waist down using muscles that power mobility.
Muscles Worked: Internal Obliques, External Obliques and Rectus Abdominis
How to do it.
- Lie down on your back.
- Bring your arms straight out to your sides.
- Bring your legs straight up so your body forms a 90-degree angle (bend your knees to make it easier).
- Rotate your hips to the left (do not let the legs touch the floor), then rotate to the right. Move slowly, keep your core tight, and be in control at all times.
- Do 10 each side as 1 set, try to do 3 sets or whatever you can manage
3. Scissor Kicks
Core Exercises 3. Scissor kicks are exercises that work the core including the iliopsoas muscle group. And which consists of the psoas major, and Iliacus muscles to improve core strength and stability. Also, improves flexibility in the hip flexors
Muscles Worked: Transverse Abdominis, Hip Flexors, Rectus Abdominis, Psoas major, Iliacus
How to do it.
- Lying on the floor, leaning back with your palms to the ground right around the sides of your upper thigh.
- Raise your legs off the ground so they are as straight as you can get them up in the air, then bring your legs down and up in an alternating pattern. The straighter you can get your legs, the harder it will be.
- Continuing alternating your feet up and down while keeping your core tight. The only thing that should be moving is your legs.
- Do 10 each leg as 1 set, try to do 3 sets or whatever you can manage
4. Mountain Climbers
Core Exercises 3. Mountain climbers are a fun and challenging way to mix up your workouts, burn calories, improve cardio fitness, strengthen your core muscles, and train your total body.
Muscles Worked: Shoulder muscles, Deltoids, Triceps, Chest muscles, Serratus anterior, Abdominal muscles, Hip flexors and Psoas, Glutes, Quadriceps, and Hamstrings,
How To Do It
- Start in a high plank/full bodyweight push-up position on your hands and toes with arms about shoulder width. Keep your body in a straight line from the head to the heels. Your shoulders should be directly over your wrists.
- Tense your core muscles, then bend either knee and bring it in toward your chest. Extend it back out to the starting position.
- Repeat with the other leg and alternate for 10 reps per side.
- Start at a slow pace and maintain it throughout all reps.
- Do 10 on each side as 1 set, try to do 3 sets or whatever you can manage
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Your core is a powerhouse that can be seriously weakened by long hours of sitting. The core is involved in all body movements and if it is allowed to get weak it will impact your health and vitality leaving you vulnerable to health issues and injuries from falls. Do not allow that to happen.
Important Note *
Remember that everyone is different, it is ultimately YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find what your body responds to. So please do your due diligence before trying anything new, including getting Medical Advice to ensure your safety and peace of mind.
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