How Important Is Your Core?
If you want to improve your walking, running, swimming, golf, or any physical activity, then you need to think about about how important your core is. Should you want to look younger and actually feel better, then core exercises are critical. Many older people are afraid of falling and injuring themselves and working t0 improve your balance through core exercises can prevent a dangerous fall? That’s how important your core is!
Strengthening your core through core exercises can help make the daily tasks like bending, turning, reaching out easier so that working around the house, and cleaning your yard, shovelling your driveway stay within your realm of possible activities? Your core will determine your participation in these activities, and help you to deal with many types of back pain. See where the core fits into the components of fitness.
What Is “The Core”?
The core is the entire group of muscles around our mid-sections. It is not just the six pack, which we all have by the way, though some of us just hide it with fat!
Our organs are held together by our core and it keeps us upright. It includes muscles in the front, back, side, pelvis and buttocks. Nerves, muscles and joints make up what is called a ‘kinetic chain’, which is an engineering concept used to describe how we move. Think of your core as one link in your kinetic chain.
We have two kinetic chains, upper and lower. Fingers, wrists, forearms elbows, upper arms, shoulders, and spinal column make up the upper chain while our toes, feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, upper legs, hips, pelvis, and spine comprise the lower chain.
The movements we all make start in the core or pass through the core. If our core is a weak link in the chain, we will have trouble, likely back trouble, so we need to keep it strong in order for us to do our daily living tasks easily and without pain.
You don’t need equipment to exercise these muscles and you can do them all in your living room while watching television.
Before you start check your posture. Good standing posture means:
- your chin is parallel to the floor
- shoulders are back and down
- arms are at your sides, elbows relaxed
- abdominal muscles are taut
- knees are pointing straight ahead
- feet pointing straight ahead
- body weight is evenly distributed on your feet
In terms of fitness components core exercises help with strength and balance. You can work on the core separately or built core work into a larger workout.
Sample Core Exercises
Here is a sample core workout with 5 moves. There are many more in the exercise library.