Updated: Jul 29, 2018
Our core is our center. Whether we are vacuuming the floor or riding a bike, all movements involve our core. Regardless of where a particular movement in the body originates, the upper and lower body are connected like links of a chain. A weak or impaired core will affect the ability of the arms or legs to function properly. The core is our powerhouse. Strengthening it properly provides more power to all movements of the body.
A happy back is reason enough to strengthen the core. Most of us, at some point, have experienced back pain to some degree. For anyone living with it chronically, it can often be debilitating. Yet, so many people choose to pop some medication, or worse, forgo activities once enjoyed, and mask the underlying problem... a weak midsection.
Want better posture? Weak core musculature is a high contributing factor to slouching. Being able to perform your job properly and comfortably, whether it includes lifting, twisting, carrying, or even SITTING too long, is another major reason we recognize the need to increase core strength. Sitting too long, especially with poor posture and/or insufficient breaks, exacerbates a weak core by making muscles tight and inflexible.
If you enjoy playing certain sports, but feel limited due to pain or stiffness, check your core strength and flexibility. Most racquet sports, rotational movement sports (golf, softball, swimming) and even recreational sports such as kayaking are powered by a strong core. Strengthening and stretching this area can get you back in the game pain free.
Basic, everyday activities are made easier for the average person, when the core is healthy and functional. I'm talking about the little things...things that go unnoticed, yet require our core: making beds, mopping, pulling weeks, carrying groceries, tying shoes, dressing, reaching overhead. So many times I hear people say they "threw their back out" by reaching up or down for something (or some kind of rotational movement) that caused a strain.
Balance, is an often overlooked benefit to having a strong core. When trained properly, the core stabilizes the entire body by allowing it to move in any direction without tipping over. You can even reduce your risk of injury from falls by increasing your balance skills. One of my favorite tools to train balance is the balance board by ProSource shown below. With an extremely affordable price-tag (and a discount code of 15% OFF at checkout) using AROCK15. it makes a great addition to any home gym. Balance Boards are great for all ages. Kids especially love them! Begin by simply standing and gradually increasing your movements. Get creative as you advance. Soon you will be rocking your balance game, upside down or right side up!
Below you will find one of my numerous core-strengthening videos. This is an intermediate level 4-minute workout that can be done anywhere, with no equipment and repeated numerous times for a more advanced workout. (If you are just beginning to strengthen your core, start with a basic plank hold and modify the moves in this video accordingly).