Many people who work excessively on their core generally do it to get washboard abs. Although a great sign of physical fitness, is it the only benefit of working on your core muscles? The answer is a big no. Just think of the scenario when you lift a heavy object, or play a sport such as badminton or tennis, or just sit while maintaining the correct posture -- where does a crucial amount of power come from, or flow through? The answer is: your core.
The Harvard Medical School says you can think of core muscles as the central link between your upper and lower body. Most of the activities that you perform throughout the day require sound coordination between your upper and lower body. And since your core is what links them together, hence a strong core is crucial for performing such tasks. A flexible and weak core can result in a lack of balance and coordination, while strong abdominal muscles will do the opposite. These points are enough to tell you why this part of our bodies is essential. Let us now go through some crucial health benefits of having a strong core.
Health Benefits Of Strong Core Muscles
Your core comprises your abdomen, pelvic floor muscles, and obliques. Working to make it strong will ensure these health benefits:
- Balance & Stability: A strong core helps you with balance and flexibility. Not only do these aspects enhance the quality of your workout, but they also make everyday activities such as walking and sitting effective, not to mention that your chances of falling dips.
- Lesser Back-Related Issues: Pain in the lower back is a common health issue, especially in those who spend a large portion of their day sitting in front of a computer screen. As per the Harvard Medical School, lower back pain may be prevented by doing exercises focusing on the core. In fact, in case of such pain, core exercises are generally recommended along with medication, physiotherapy, etc.
- Improves Posture: We all know the pain poor posture can cause. But do you know that a weak core can lead to slouching, which is an indicator of bad posture? Hence, build your core for improved posture, which in turn will protect your spine from everyday wear and tear, improve breathing and boost your confidence.
- Improves Sports Performances: As you already know that with strong core muscles, your upper and lower body are better coordinated. This improves your performance in several sports. Also now since you are less susceptible to falling down, you are at a lesser chance of getting hurt while playing sports.
Now that we have gone through the many benefits of a strong core, let us look at some exercises to build it.
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Here are some core workouts you can do:
- Lay down on your back with your arms along your sides and your knees bent with feet flat on the floor.
- Tighten your abdomen and glutes.
- Gently lift your hips from the ground as high as you can.
- Hold it for a breath and bring your body down.
- Repeat the same 8-10 times.
- Lay down on your back with your arms along your sides.
- Bend your knees and bring your feet flat on the floor.
- Cross your arms and hold your forearms with your palms.
- Tighten your core and lift your upper body.
- While you do this, your lower body, pelvis and feet should remain the same.
- Hold for a second and gently lower.
- Repeat 8-10 times.
- To do this, you can start by coming in the tabletop pose with your palms under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Next straighten your legs so that your whole body, except your palms and toes are lifted from the floor.
- You should do this while tightening your core.
- Make sure your spine isn’t bent and your body, from head to toe, should be a straight line.
- Stay in this pose for 20-25 seconds.
- Repeat the same for 3-5 times.
- This one is similar to the plank pose, the only difference being the forearm will be on the ground along with your palms.
- You can start by laying on your stomach.
- Lift your upper body such that your forearms are flat on the floor with elbows under your shoulders.
- Curl your toes under, tighten your core and glutes and gently rise.
- Make sure your spine isn’t bent.
- Stay in this pose for 20-25 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.
- Start in a plank position with palms under your shoulders and feet curled in.
- Then, lift your right leg, bend your knee and bring it towards your chest.
- Bring your right leg to the original position while simultaneously bringing your left knee towards your chest
- Alternate between the legs at your own pace.
- Repeat on each leg 8-10 times.
There are numerous exercises you can do to strengthen your core. However, if you are a beginner, make sure you start with something simple, such as the bridge pose. Once you get in the rhythm, you can attempt more challenging poses.
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