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The Importance of Working your Core

The Importance of Working your Core

If you’ve ever read a fitness magazine or had a discussion with a personal trainer you will have heard all about your core and just how important it is for your overall fitness. Some people believe their core is simply their abs but it extends far beyond this.

Your core is made up of about 29 separate muscles and is basically described as your whole body excluding arms and legs. It’s the area of your body which is involve in pretty much every movement you make and training your entire core rather than just your abdominal area will have seriously positive fitness results in the long term. Here are the main benefits of working out your core.

Benefits of Strengthening your Core

There are several key benefits of a stronger core discussed below:

  • Everyday Life

Everything from bending to tie up your shoes to picking up letters from the doorway can be made easier with a strengthened core. Your core is utilised in everything you do – even sitting down on chairs and turning your head can become less painful if you work on your core muscle area. Your core is for everything so it needs to be respected.

  • Work tasks

Jobs that involve lifting, twisting and standing are all heavily reliant on your core muscles. Even if you have a sedentary job and sit at a desk all day your core plays a role. Tapping away on your computer, answering your calls and other daily tasks do put strain on your back and core strengthening training can help your back tensing up and becoming overly stiff.

  • Health

Lower back pain is a hugely painful and unfortunately very common condition across the UK. Even if it’s only short term it’s a pain you won’t forget and core strengthening exercise which promote resilience and balance can help stave off attacks of this type of pain. Once the pain hits it’s even recommended you try core exercises to power through it.

  • Balance and Stability

Your core is central to your body so it stands to reason it’s a great stabiliser. It stabilises your whole body and allows you to move without ease if it’s strengthened to its optimal level. It’s even believed that strengthening your core can improve your balance and reduce the risk of falls, especially in later life.

  • Posture

Training your core improves your posture. Being slouched over is often a sign of a weak core and good posture will help you feel much taller, more comfortable and protects your spine from the wear and tear that is common when you’re constantly hunched.

This should tell you all you need to know about the importance of your core but how do you exercise it? There are many ways and you may be surprised to hear you already do many core-strengthening exercises. If not here are three of the most common, most challenging exercises to get your core into shape.

The Plank

We’re sure everyone has heard of the plank but did you know how powerful it can be in enhanced your core. It’s the best place to begin for improving your core strength and stability and can be carried out following these simple steps:

  1. Lie with your forearms and toes on the floor
  2. Keep your torso straight and fully rigid and your body in a straight line with no sagging in between
  3. Keep your head relaxed and facing at the floor and lift your body off the floor using your toes and forearms.
  4. Hold this position for 10 seconds to begin with but as your strength builds up you can step up to as many as 60 seconds per hold.

Wall Sit

The wall sit doesn’t seem like a complicated exercise but it needs to be done properly to work. You should be able to form a right angle both at your hips and at your knees with your back completely flat against the fall. Your heels too should be flat and you can follow these steps to ensure you’re getting it right:

  1. Begin with your back against the wall and your feet a shoulder’s width apart and two feet away from the wall.
  2. Slowly slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel with the ground
  3. Ensure your feet are aligned to make your knees directly above your ankles, never over your toes.
  4. Hold this position for 20 seconds to begin with and work up to 60 seconds over time, in intervals of five.
  5. Burning sensation is common in the quads but any knee pain at all means you should stop.

Push Up

The classic push up is the heart of all home workouts and something everyone who’s exercising should be incorporating into their routine. It has a positive impact on your whole body and is part of the perfect full body workout with significant emphasis on your core. These steps will ensure push up is 100% right:

  1. Kneel on the floor and position your hands wider than your shoulders, fingers pointing forward.
  2. Raise up so you are balanced on your hands and toes
  3. Keep your body in a straight line with no sagging or arching of your back
  4. Tighten your abs and glutes before making any movements and keep this tight core throughout
  5. Inhale as you bend your elbows down and lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle
  6. Exhale as you push up and ensure you never lock elbows to avoid injury
  7. Repeat as you feel fit to maximise your routine’s effect

Your core is important and if you can get it into shape then the rest of your body will follow and you’ll be fitter than you’ve ever been.