You rely on your body to get get out of bed, to lift your children, to perform your job and to take you places everyday. If you appreciate what your body does for you, you will provide it with nutritious food, hydrate with water and be sure to add some activity into your day.
While our limbs provide mobility, reach and strength it is our body core that provides the basis of each movement. Sedentary lives can cause our body core muscles to weaken and become subject to strain or injury. Even if you workout or participate in sports you may not be working the body core muscles you rely on to perform.
What is your body’s “Core”?
Your body core is the midsection of your body, from your groin to your shoulders. The core includes the pelvis, abs, back and chest muscles. It is this core that offers stability, balance and flexibility. Every movement you make originates in the core – whether you are reaching for your toothbrush or running a marathon. If the core is not properly conditioned it will limit your physical abilities.
Working the muscles in your body core will improve the effectiveness of movements in your limbs. Most exercise routines focus on building muscle. By creating a stable, strong base for those muscles you can optimize the strength and flexibility of each limb.
How do you strengthen your Core?
There are many exercise routines and products that work the muscles of the body core. Professional trainers create customized routines to enhance an athlete’s abilities by developing the proper core muscles. However, there are also many programs developed for individuals who wish to incorporate it into their fitness routine or to begin one.
The exercises and products developed to strengthen your body core do so by creating resistance or instability so that the core muscles must respond to maintain balance. The exercises are gentle on the body but are intense and beginners will quickly ‘feel’ the muscles being used. Proper alignment is key so having a trainer to check your position will help identify the safest and most effective way to perform an exercise.
Body core exercises often imitate moves that we employ in daily life or sports and thus train the body to rely on the core and reduce the strain we put on our limbs. Two popular forms of exercise that develop core body strength are Pilates and the Swiss ball.
Pilates uses the body as its own form of resistance. Learning to breath properly and perform slow, controlled movements allows a person to isolate and strengthen core muscles.
The Swiss ball (also known as a Fitness ball) is an easy and fun way to strengthen the body core. While there are many exercises that can be performed with the Swiss ball, simply sitting on it will create the instability needed to engage the core muscles to maintain balance.
Good core strength is important at every age and fitness level. Whatever your goals, find a way to incorporate body core conditioning into your routine to reduce fatigue, avoid muscle strain and improve your strength and mobility.