If you were to ask how you could quickly reverse the aging process, I would advise you to develop your “core”. Your core spans muscles, bones, and joints in your abdomen, back, buttocks, sides, and hips/pelvis. Weak, tight or unbalanced core muscles can affect your ability to move, function independently and enjoy physical activities.
The major core muscles to strengthen are your:
- Abdominals – Stabilize your core, twist your trunk, and allow you to bend forward at the waist and to each side.
- Back - Stabilize your core and allow you to straighten up, bend backward, forward, and to each side.
- Hip Adductors - Pull your thigh towards the midline of your body.
- Hip Flexors – Stabilize/rotate your pelvis, stabilize your body when you stand, and allow you to bend at the waist and hike up each leg.
- Gluteals or “glutes” - Extend/rotate your hip, rotate/abduct your thigh. (Abductors push your thigh away from the midline of your body.)
Why You Need a Strong, Stable Core:
- Makes it possible to stand upright and move on two feet which enhances your balance and stability.
- Is essential to sit and move (e.g., walk, jump, dance, and run).
- Helps prevent falls.
- Distributes the stresses of weight bearing which protects your back and reduces back pain.
- Improves athletic performance. (Powerful, rapid muscle contractions start from the center of your body out.)
- Improves posture.
- Enhances arm and leg function which helps build powerful arms and legs.
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Basic everyday tasks call on your core to do the following, such as:
- Bend to put on your shoes
- Pick up an item off the floor
- Turn to look behind you
- Walk up/down stairs
- Mow the lawn or work in the garden
- Sit in a chair and get up from a chair
- Stand still
- Reach overhead
- Vacuum, mop or dust
- Bathe or shower
Strengthening Your Core
Core exercises don’t require special equipment or access to a gym. Some classic core exercises include:
- Standing overhead press
Fit Tip: Think of your core muscles as the sturdy link between your upper and lower body. But remember it’s not all about strengthening your abs or you’ll end up with a weak back. A healthy body is a ‘balanced’ body. If you work on abs, you need to strengthen opposing muscles or you set yourself up for injury. A sound core program works ALL core muscles.