The core muscles of our body are kind of like the knot that ties our upper and lower body together. Our core muscles are used every single day, likely in ways that you never even realized.
A weak core not only throws off our balance and posture, but it can prevent us from doing everyday tasks such as tying our shoes or doing housework.
Keep in mind that a “strong core” does not mean you have 6-pack abs, it simply means your core is strong enough to support your daily level of functioning and that you are healthy.
Daily Tasks that Require a Strong Core
Every single day, even if you do not workout, you are doing something that engages your core muscles. Basic activities, such as, putting on your shoes, looking behind you, getting dressed, even sitting down/standing up all activate your core muscles. These are activities that we do naturally every single day and without decent core strength, these basic tasks will become difficult or painful.
Work Tasks that Require a Strong Core
The most obvious core-engaging jobs are construction, fitness instructor, and any job that requires an extensive amount of lifting, bending, and twisting. These tasks are very difficult without a strong core.
However, those of you who sit at your desk for x-amount of hours/day are still engaging your core. Sitting still for hours on end, answering phone calls, using the computer, and other like – tasks can hurt your lower back. A strong core will help prevent back pain or injury as well.
Sports and Housework
Activities such as tennis, biking, running, football, swimming, and boxing all require a strong core. A weak core will only tire you out faster and prevent you from playing to your best ability
There are also several household activities that require a strong core. If you are a fix-it yourself kind of a person, the hammering, sawing, lifting, bending, it all is much easier if your core muscles are tighter. Other household activities such as vacuuming, dusting or even gardening if you’re into that, can be more pleasurable if you don’t get a side cramp after twenty minutes.
What You can Do About It
So, have you found yourself experiencing side cramps or having a hard time bending or lifting? You could probably benefit forma stronger core and there are so many ways to go about getting those muscles fired up.
- Work out your entire core! When people think “core muscles” the first thing that comes to mind is their abs, but there is much more to your core than that. You also have to engage your back muscles, which are very important to everyday living. Nobody wants back pain every time you bend down to pick up the newspaper or chase your kid around the yard. Exercise such as Pilates or yoga are ideal for working out all the muscles in your core.
- Practice standing up straight. Many people do not realize that good posture actually engages the core and helps to fight fat build up. Slouching can cause damage to your back muscles and prevent core engagement.
- Eat healthy! I know I know, this is the most overstated piece of information, but it really is the most important. All that exercising is nothing without the proper nutrients. You need to feed your body plenty of protein (preferably form actual food and not a powder) as well as drink lots of water. Fruits and vegetables are also crucial for proper bowel movement, aim for 3-4 different fruits/vegetable per day.
Top 5 Core-Engaging Exercises
- Planking. Planking is an exercise that engages nearly every muscle in your body and is great for core strengthening.
- Bridges. Bridges target the lower abdominal muscles, glutes, thigh muscles, and lower back.
- Supermans. Supermans engage the lower back muscles as well as the glutes. They are perfect for working out the lower back.
- Full body crunch. This exercise is ideal for working out your entire core in one swift movement.
- Cross over crunch. Aimed for working out the oblique’s, the cross over crunch is a must have in your workout routine!
Having a strong core can really change the way you live your life.
Take some time every day to put in a workout even if it’s just 20 minutes, and do your best to pass on that extra slice of cake!
Every little bit counts!