The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘core’ as “the central or most important part of anything”.
When we refer to the core in terms of the musculature of our body, the same definition applies because it’s where all movement begins. So its strength, or lack of, directly affects both the exercise we can do, and the functional quality of our lives.
It was widely believed that ‘Core fitness’ could be achieved by doing endless crunches and other exercises for the stomach, and that a ‘six pack’ was the visual representation of core strength; neither of these are true and, thankfully, perceptions seem to have changed over the years.
So what, and where, is the core?
The core refers to our whole midsection, and includes dozens of muscles attached to the hips, pelvis and abdominals all the way up to the shoulders. These include the Transversus Abdominis, the Internal and External Obliques and the Quadratus Lumborum. Each of the core muscles working together act as the control centre for the body’s balance and stability. So core fitness training is essential to maximise our functional movement whether at work or play every day.
What are the benefits of strengthening your core?
I could fill a page with them, but here are just a few to highlight the importance:
- Improved Overall Health & Wellbeing – Injury prevention
- Improved Posture – You will walk taller and appear slimmer
- Improved Balance
- Improved Sports Performance – The ability to train harder and for longer
As you can see from what is only a snapshot of the benefits, strengthening your core will reap huge rewards, not only in your exercise programme, but everyday life – think moving furniture, lifting suitcases, shopping bags, and children.
Effective fitness programmes are built on strong foundations, and core conditioning is an integral part of coaching all of my clients, irrespective of their age or fitness levels.
So, speak to your fitness professional to ensure that your programme incorporates core strengthening elements, then enjoy the rewards in every single aspect of your life.