Core strength does not always mean an abdominal six-pack that will have everyone around you drooling at how fit you look.
The truth is, having a strong core is not the same as having strong outer layer muscles on the abdomen. All motions come from the core, making it the base of the entire body. Core strength helps reduce injuries, boost athletic performance, and prevent postural imbalances.
Why is Core Strength so Important?
Core strength also increases your chances of performing a bunch of physical activities and tasks. These muscles are located around your navel and are mainly the abdominal, back, and pelvic muscles. Hence, they influence the legs and upper body as well.
Despite popular belief, core strength has more to do with allowing the body to maintain different postures as it unloads the joints and allows ease of movement. Core strength makes getting on and off the floor easier for any normal person, whether it is to play with their children and grandchildren, or stand up from a chair, vacuum, and shower without pain and discomfort.
For athletes, core strength allows efficient movement while reducing the risk of injury and encouraging better performance. If you have a strong, stable core, there are fewer chances of overuse injuries. Moreover, core strength can increase resiliency and heal acute injury faster. You know how people get weaker with age, unable to do certain tasks? A strong core strengthens the pelvic floor musculature, preventing incontinence of daily activities.
Disadvantages of a Weak Core
As we grow older, degenerative changes become common, especially in the spine. It is almost natural for wear and tear to occur in the bones and cartilage. However, with proper core exercises, you can control and get rid of symptoms that weaken your body. Of course, strong and stable postural muscles suspend the bones, allowing structure in the body to move and function better.
With postural exercises, you can control the curving and rotation of the spine. A weak core can result in several issues in different parts of the body. In fact, knee pain is also a result of a weak core. It is common for runners and athletes to experience chronic neck and back pain because their core needs work.
Ways to Strengthen the Core
You don’t have to have the perfect set of abs or look like a swimwear model to have a strong core. Core strength allows you to do everyday activities, such as carrying groceries to the car or getting out of bed in the morning. There is no denying that a weak core can also lead to a weak back. However, the benefits of getting a strong core often go unnoticed.
1. Find Time
According to some studies conducted between 1970 and 2011, exercises to strengthen the core was better than exercises to reduce chronic lower back pain in patients. Keep in mind that 540 million people all over the world experience some form of back pain.
Five to ten minutes of everyday exercise to strengthen the core is a brilliant investment. You have to take out time from your busy routine to do this. Remember not to perform any core exercises before your food has been digested.
One of the best and easiest ways to improve core strength is to combine cardio workouts with sets of crunches. Don’t worry; these are not nearly as difficult as you may have been told.
All you need to do is lie down, put your feet on a close-by wall, lift your head and shoulders off the floor, and hold this position for three seconds. Continue performing this exercise, starting with 15 reps and slowly increasing the reps as your tolerance and strength get built. Without only a few days, you will notice your core becoming stronger.
When working out and trying to build muscle, one of the most important factors that people tend to forget is food intake. Different foods contain different vitamins that are essential for body and muscle building.
Eggs are the ultimate muscle food. They are loaded with protein and have cholesterol and leucine, which have shown to increase muscle development in the body. When working out, eating the correct food is a must. Without this, you may not reap the results of your fitness regime.
Many people believe that only women can do Pilates. However, it is time to break this gender stereotype. While accompanying your other half to her Pilates classes may seem odd at first, you will change your mind quickly as soon as you realize the benefits this exercise can have on your core.
While other core strength exercises, such as sit-ups and crunches, can help you build strength, Pilates is a whole other ballgame. Not only will it increase core strength, but it will also help you focus on your control, balance, and self-discipline. It will help you bypass your physical expectations and become leaner within just a few sessions.
One of the most popular core strengthening exercises, superman does not require any weights. In fact, you don’t even need to go to the gym to perform this exercise.
When doing a superman, lie face-down on the floor. Make sure to put a yoga mat or carpet below to make this exercise easier for your body. Stretch your arms out in front of you and slowly start to elevate them. Hold this position, and then elevate your legs slightly. The idea is only to allow your stomach to touch the surface. This may feel not easy initially, but as you build core strength, the superman will become a lot easier.
Remember, no one method will help build core strength in everyone. Depending on your weight, body mass, age, and individual injuries, this process may differ. However, keep in mind that repetition is the key to targeting muscle groups. Be patient, be consistent.