The Importance of Core Strength
Your core, also known as the “trunk” or “torso”, is the group of muscles responsible for stabilizing and controlling your pelvis and your spine. Whenever you move from one position to another, you are activating your core muscles.
The core consists of the following muscle groups:
- pelvic floor muscles (supports pelvic organs)
- transversus abdominus (stabilizes lower back and pelvis before arms and legs move)
- multifidus (a deep muscle located along the back of spine)
- internal and external obliques (work on both sides of the core to flex the trunk)
- rectus abdominus (also known as “abs”)
- erector spinae (a group of muscles that run the length of the spine)
- diaphragm (the thin muscle that separates the abdomen from the chest)
Not only do strong core muscles make it easier to perform physical activities, maintaining a strong core will also help to increase independence later in life.
Why Core Strength is Important
When the core muscles of your body are weak, you may experience poor posture and lower back pain. You are also more susceptible to muscle injury, especially as you age.
Strong core muscles, however, help to improve posture and prevent lower back pain. In addition to this, strengthening your core has many other wonderful benefits:
As we age, our balance and stability start to waver, making it easier for us to fall and sustain injury. Having strong core muscles helps to maintain balance and stability, so that moving around is easier and less likely to result in a fall.
Helps With Bladder Control
Keeping your core strong is more effective than Kegels when it comes to strengthening your bladder control. Following a pregnancy, or due to old age, the ability to control one’s bladder decreases. Strengthening the muscles of your core contributes to strengthening the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles surrounding your bladder) as well.
Makes Moving Easier
Between work, chores, climbing stairs, bending, lifting and other day-to-day physical activities, our bodies are in constant motion. Having a strong core makes these movements easier and reduce the chances of becoming stiff and sore because of them.
Decreases Risk of Injury
Having a strong core is a preventative measure against acute injuries (the result of a single event) or repetitive stress injuries (injuries caused by overuse). Strengthening your core muscles helps to stabilize your body to reduce pressure on joints and strains on other muscle groups.
Helps Eliminate Symptoms of Degenerative Diseases
Degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis, are disorders of the body that cause tissues or organs to deteriorate over time. Many of these disease affect muscular structures and movement. While having a strong core does not heal or prevent these diseases, it can definitely aid in reducing the symptoms.
Improves Performance for Athletes
A strong core not only supports the rest of the body and helps to prevent injuries, but it also increases endurance and aids athletes in moving more efficiently. Overall, a strong core improves athletic performance.
Exercising to Strengthen Your Core
Contrary to popular belief, exercising to strengthen your core is not a matter of performing repetitive movements in order to build muscle. Core exercises focus more on awareness of your movements and knowing how to activate this particular muscle group.
You can practice how to identify and activate your core muscles at home, in class or through the one-on-one instruction of a physiotherapist.
A physiotherapist can design a unique exercise plan that addresses your particular needs and provides personalized methods in strengthening your core muscles.
If you are interested in getting your core muscles in shape, feel free to contact In Home Physical Therapy and Massage for more information about effective and personalized exercises.