Core strength isn’t something I happily fit into my fitness routine, but I so need to. Lately, we have been enjoying running around our track which includes running, or sometimes walking, up this hill surrounded by rainforest and birds. I need to set up some workout stations around the track and implement some of Brooke’s motivational fitness tips. So many of you enjoyed Brooke’s interveiw a few weeks ago that we asked her to join us again with some of her valuable fitness knowledge. Core stability optimizes both power and strength within the body. It is the foundation to good posture and reduces the risk of lower back pain as well as supporting all the other body structures.
So what is your core exactly? Your core relates to the group of muscles in your midsection that support your body. They include muscles like the abdominal muscles (front of your midsection) , internal and external obliques (sides of your midsection), transverse abdominis (deep abdominal muscles), erector spinae & multifidus (muscles around the spine in your midsection), pelvic floor muscles and the diaphragm.
Without strength in these muscles groups, you are more prone to injury (especially lower back) and weakness in the body. Core muscles are responsible for maintaining good posture and are important for balance and stability.
Some simple effective core exercises include – and no it’s not crunches!
Opposite arm/leg extensions
Planks (on toes or knees)
Try including some of these exercises into your workouts. Remember to activate your core muscles in your other exercises too. The core needs to be engaged in most exercises like squats, bicep curls, lunges etc…This requires you to draw your naval back to your spine and brace your abdominal muscles. Draw your pelvic floor muscles upward (as if you were trying to stop a wee!). Contracting the muscles should be gentle and not too forceful.
Practicing correct alignment of the posture is also necessary when carrying out these exercises ie: Begin with neutral spine and pelvis and ensure correct alignment of hips, knees, spine, neck, shoulders and pelvis are being used.
If you suffer from back pain, joint pain, rounded shoulders, excessive pelvic tilt then training your core could sometimes rectify these postural issues.
Core strength is the building block of a healthy strong body!