When you try to imagine a person who is the epitome of strength and optimal fitness, what do you see? Let me guess, one of the first things that came to your mind was shredded abs. A six pack? Maybe an eight pack? If that’s what you imagined, I honestly agree with you. However, I don’t want you to think that having a strong core is limited to people who are insanely fit.
Core strength and stability is one of the most important aspects of movement and balance, even for the average person. Having a strong core enables you to have effective control over the rest of your body. It helps you to use your limbs effectively, and prevents excessive load on your spine.
Core strength affects many aspects of daily living such as bending down, sitting in a chair, standing, and twisting. These days, many jobs require you to sit by a computer for hours on end. Having a strong, stable core will allow you to maintain good posture which reduces back pain and optimizes deep breathing.
A strong core is also important in preventing injuries and accidents particularly in populations, such as seniors, who are prone to falls. It is best to develop a healthy core so that as we age, we can maintain optimal stability, balance, coordination, posture, breathing, and even digestion.
Core strength is not only related to the abdominal muscles. There are many muscles that work together to support and stabilize the spine. The main core muscles include transverse abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, erector spinae, diaphragm, pelvic floor muscles, and rectus abdominis (the famous six-pack muscle). The minor core muscles include latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and glutes. In order to achieve optimal core strength/stability, it is important to exercise all of the core muscles.
Here are some exercises to improve core stability/strength:
Single Leg Deadlifts
Supine Toe Taps
Side Plank with Torso Rotation