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Core Power

October 23, 2013

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I’m sure many of you have heard from either a doctor, exercise infomercial, or personal trainer that you need to strengthen your core. Knowing you need to do it and actually doing it are two different things. When I ask people what they mean when they say “I need to strengthen my core” the number one answer I get is stomach. This is partly right, the core is generally defined as everything except the arms and legs. So while focusing just on the stomach helps a little it neglects some very important areas. I do not have enough space to tell you why strengthening your core is important but one of the biggest reasons is: injury prevention.  Your core is involved in EVERYTHING you do from getting in and out of the car to carrying groceries to laughing. Not strengthening that area increases the chance of you hurting yourself. The National Institute of Health says that 8 out of 10 people will experience low back pain. Low back pain is generally caused by weak core muscles due to inactivity, muscular imbalance, obesity, etc.

When exercising your core you have to take a balanced approach. If you work one area more than the other then you get a muscular imbalance which can cause injury. The number one example of this is doing a lot of sit ups for the stomach but not enough for the low back. Over time the stomach muscles will grow stronger than the low back muscles which can cause low back pain. The most efficient way to exercise the core is to do exercises that work multiple parts at the same time. So instead of doing sit-ups ( only works the stomach) you can do medicine ball seated twist (works low back and stomach). Here are a few exercises you can do to spice up your core routine:

1. Medicine Ball Twist- http://youtu.be/S_fp-94ZW2Y

2. Stability Ball Pull Ins- http://youtu.be/TAKiqyjTVBs

3. Mini Band Plank Spreads- http://youtu.be/Sfx_3askuEk

4. Running Man- http://youtu.be/lNFw29IUt4c

5. Bear Crawls- http://youtu.be/go6do3wXYVw

 

Strengthening your core is extremely important not only to have a “6 pack,” but to ensure that you can still do your daily activities at the highest level. By strengthening your core muscles it keeps your structural integrity aka The Skeleton strong to help prevent injuries now and in the future.

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