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The Importance of Working Your Core Muscles...

by Sharon Gayle August 3, 2010

The "CORE" region of the body is central to our being able to physically function correctly, and to do so at our best. When correctly maintained and strengthened, the core provides stabilization of the entire framework (upper and lower torso) of the human body.  A healthy core allows for correct posture, balance, coordination, and movement.  Additionally, the core requires as much, if not more attention, than all other body-parts.  Strengthening the core becomes additionally important if you workout, as this is a prime instance wherein the muscles in this area kick into gear to assist you in performing the movement required for cardio, and the strength required for weight-bearing exercise(s).

What are Core Muscles?

"CORE" muscles pertain to the muscles found at the Obliques, Abdominals, Lower-Back, Hips, and Gluts (buttocks). Therefore, a good posture reflects the well-conditioned muscles of the core.

Unfortunately, the core/lower-back is quite possibly the most neglected body-part in the gym.

Lower back pain occurs primarily because of incorrect posture or incorrect sitting habits. Most people work in environments which require that they sit throughout the day and of those, many tend to ignore lower back strengthening exercises, as they are unaware of their importance and effectiveness. Lower back exercises reduce back pain, and also help in strengthening the back, and the areas of the body surrounding the back, such as hamstrings and hip flexors.

Strengthening Core Muscles

If properly attend to and strengthened, the Core muscles provide enough power to the body to enable it to cope up with the dynamic challenges of every physical activity that a person encounters.

For this reason, many health and fitness experts have realized that it is far more important to strengthen the core muscles than the other muscles in the body. Through a series of experiments and research, they have found out that having a stronger core can lessen many health problems concerning posture.


For instance, a well-conditioned core muscle can project good posture. It can also improve the endurance of the back all the way through the day.

To know and understand why it is important strengthen the core muscles; here is a list of some of the benefits that you can use as references:

1. Strengthening Core muscles will improve posture and prevent low back pain of the muscular origin

Incorporating stretching exercises in your routine, taking a particular focus on the muscles of the upper and front part of the trunk, including the abdominal and trunk muscles, will strengthen the muscles of the back that extend to the spine.

2. Tone the muscles, avoiding further back injury

Exercising your core muscles will strengthen and tone your lower back muscles and buttocks while stretching the hip flexors and the muscles on the front of the thighs.

Achieving this state will deter you from any serious lower back injury.

3. Improves physical performance

Exercising the core muscles with slow, static stretching is as effective to relieving stiffness and enhances flexibility. With improved flexibility, an individual will be better able to perform their physical activities.

4. Stretching for the Core

Static Stretching for Core muscles is best for the muscles and connective tissues. The slow method of stretching will not cause soreness as opposed to Ballistic stretching.

5. Lengthen muscles and avoid unbalanced footing as you age

Core muscle exercises lengthen the muscles that have contracted as a result of pain. It also prevents pain from vigorous exercise if they are included at the end of each workout.

Indeed, core muscles are absolutely important in determining the good posture of the body. Strengthening them can absolutely eliminate the nuisance of back pain.

Alternatives:

There are various ways to avoid back pain.  Activities like swimming, meditation and yoga not only keep you fit, but prevent old age problems such as arthritis. These exercises, if done daily and properly, are sure to improve the back muscle flexibility while strengthening the lower back.

Tips & Warnings:

I highly recommend starting core work out immediately and repeating the routine at least 2-3 times a week.  This should be sufficient to give the lower back the strength and flexibility the core muscles require. The process can be done after the workout or even during the activity, for about 10 to 20 minutes only. Be careful to use proper technique!  The lower back can easily be injured if these exercises are not performed correctly.  Ask a trainer to show you the proper technique and how to use the equipment if it is your first time trying these exercises.

The lower back assists other muscles thus, they are worked indirectly when your exercise other body parts. Therefore, you do not need to work the lower back with the same intensity or weight (if any) as bigger muscles. ~SG.

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