6 Reasons to include core training exercises in your fitness routine
When I mention core workouts, you may think that I’m referring to exercises you should do to prepare for beach season. But there are many other reasons why you should strengthen your core all-year-round. That’s because physical strength starts in the core.
What is our “Core?”
When physical trainers refer to the core, they are talking about the chain of muscles that connect our upper and lower body. There are nearly 30 muscles that make up this chain, in total. The abdominal muscles are an important part of this chain, but we need to strengthen more than just our abs to power and control our movements. We also need to strengthen our back (multifidus), sides (obliques), and booty (gluteus maximus and minimus).
The Benefits of Core Training Exercises
1. Prevent injuries.
We use our core muscles for nearly every physical movement that we make throughout the day. Strengthening these muscles can improve our balance and stability, which reduces our risk of falling or hurting our back as we engage in our usual activities.
2. Improve breathing.
Our core strength can affect our posture. The stronger the core, the better the posture. An upright posture allows our lungs to expand to their full capacity and deliver more oxygen to the rest of our essential organs and brain.
3. Reduced risk of pregnancy-related complications and faster recover.
Around 3 in 10 of women experience a condition called diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) during pregnancy and childbirth, which is when the tissues in the rectus abdominal muscle (aka the six-pack ab muscle) separate. It’s also worth noting that this can happen to both men and women after extreme dieting or from overexertion while weightlifting. This condition can cause extreme pain in the lower back, constipation, pelvic organ prolapse, and urinary incontinence (i.e. leakage). Core strengthening exercises (before, after, and during pregnancy) can reduce the risk of DRA and can speed up your recovery.
4. Greater endurance.
Since we need our core muscles for almost all of our movements, core strengthening exercises can help us sustain our energy. When we have a weak core, our muscles have to work harder just to hold our body weight, which may affect our motivation to do activities that we typically enjoy.
5. Better athletic performance.
In addition to increasing endurance, you need a strong core in order to be nimble and agile. Whether you’re on a sports team or working out in your living room, core strengthening exercises will help you reach your peak performance and get the most out of all that physical activity you’re engaging in.
6. Spinal protection.
Our spine and central nervous system house all our major veins and arteries. It’s important to strengthen our core muscles to protect our nervous system from any undue pressure that can result in serious pain that is capable of radiating throughout your body. The greatest pressure can come from sitting for long periods of time because sitting compresses the discs in our spine. One way to prevent injury is by sitting upright on your sit bones, rather than arching your back. This requires a strong core.
To bring this point home, core strengthening exercises are about more than getting ready for beach season. Just like working out is about more than just losing weight, remember that there are several other important benefits of strengthening those core chain of muscles for our overall health and well-being.
The Importance of Core Strength for Physical Health was originally published in HEAL • THY • HABITS on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.