There is a lot of discussion going on around your “core” these days. Often you will hear physiotherapists talking about core strength in relation to injuries. This may include lower back pain, hip pain, and pain associated with spinal or joint degeneration. This raises one very important question: What exactly is your core and how does it work?
What is your core?
When you hear a physiotherapist talking about your core, they are generally referring to a group of muscles in your pelvis, abdomen, lower back, and hips. These are the muscles that surround your trunk and pelvis. They help to create a stable base to support us when we move throughout the day. Core muscles are often ignored by many people, sometimes even by those who regularly exercise. A properly functioning core is essential to maintaining a strong and healthy body as you age or as you exercise.
What does your core do?
Your core’s primary function it to create support for your spine and trunk. It needs to provide a strong and reliable base on top of which you are able to move the rest of your body in a variety of ways as you live your life. Maintaining and training your core is essential to improve the longevity of the joints throughout your body and to remain injury free as you age.
Your core typically functions as one unit with all muscles contracting and relaxing in relation to each other. This allows your core to constantly adapt to your body’s position in space and allow for successful and efficient movement such as walking, squatting, reaching, bending, or lifting!
Why is your core important?
Having a strong core makes it easier for you to do a variety of activities. Your core supports your body as you do things such as walk, squat, run, and swing a golf club. But also functional activities like reaching to the top shelf and bending down to tie your shoes. Strong core muscles are important for athletes in most sports, as weak core muscles lead to more fatigue and injuries.
Weak core muscles can also leave you susceptible to poor posture, acute and chronic lower back pain and muscle injuries. Strengthening core muscles is shown to help improve a variety of lower back pain.
Core exercises can help you reach your fitness goals and are integral for most rehab protocols!
Aerobic exercise and muscular fitness are the primary elements of most fitness programs. But to have a well-rounded fitness program, it would be a good idea to consider including core exercises as well.
Whether you’re a novice taking the first steps toward fitness or a committed fitness fanatic hoping to optimize your results, a well-rounded fitness program that includes core exercise is the best way to reach your fitness goals.
Talk with almost any physiotherapist, and they will tell you that having a strong core will also help to prevent a variety of injuries. Core strengthening is one of the tools utilised by many physiotherapists to treat and prevent lower back pain. However, it is also used in rehabilitation for patients with degenerative conditions like Multiple Sclerosis and MND.
Your core is used for almost every movement that you make as a human. Always remember how vital this part of your body truely is when you design and implement a fitness program! Are you ready to start strengthening your core? Don’t wait, talk to your physiotherapist today to learn more about the many way that core strengthening can benefit you!
Written by Hayley Wright