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Fitness

Why Are Core Strength and Stability so Important?

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

A fitness routine is good for you in many ways, from physical to mental health benefits. Exercising the core is an unskippable part of a well-rounded fitness routine. However, most people seem to neglect these exercises. Or, in the best-case scenario, they gloss over them by doing occasional push-ups and sit-ups. It does pay to work on your core strength and stability, but most people are not informed enough about why this is true.

A woman doing sit-ups

What is the core?


Your core refers to the midsection of your body. It's front, rear, and sides altogether. It is what connects the upper and lower regions of your body. The core’s major muscle groups include:


  1. the transversus abdominis (your six-pack abdominal muscles),

  2. the pelvic floor muscles,

  3. the internal and external obliques,

  4. the rectus abdominis,

  5. the multifidus,

  6. the erector spinae,

  7. the diaphragm, which is crucial for breathing.


The core is what supports your spine and pelvis. It is also integral to motion, helping you be able to transfer force from one area to the other. The reason a strong core is essential for movement is that weak or inflexible core muscles have the potential to interfere with the proper functioning of your legs and arms. Having strong core muscles also provides you with balance and stability and, in turn, helps prevent falls and injuries. If you plan on working to strengthen your core muscles, get in touch with a personal trainer. At least so they can give you pointers on the basics, so you don’t hurt yourself.


Signs of a weak core


Most people don’t even really think about the importance of core strength. If you consider yourself one of those people, it’s time to take a minute to assess yourself. If you have a weak core, you shouldn’t just sigh and give up on it. You can do core stability exercises to strengthen it. You can check several signs to determine whether you have a weak core.


Lower back pain

Lower back pain is one of the most significant indicators of a weak core. Of course, this only applies if the pain is not due to another medical back issue. To support its vertebrae and discs properly, your spine needs to have strong muscles around it. Without these muscles, the forward curve of a normal spine won’t be possible. This can result in pain in the surrounding tendons and muscles.


Poor Posture


Another indicator that you have a weak core is poor posture. The muscles in your abdomen and lower back physically hold your spine and pelvis in place. If your core strength and stability are lacking, your posture will suffer, and the resulting slouch will strain muscles. Simple activities such as sitting or standing erect for extended periods will be more challenging without good core strength. Very often, people who have lower back issues will also have posture problems and vice-versa.

A spine graphic on a clipboard
Bad posture can bring about many further medical issues.
Balance

Strong core muscles are the key to stability. If your core muscles are weak, you will probably have trouble with your balance. A good idea would be to do a quick test of yourself by standing on one leg with your eyes closed for ten seconds. Remember to try this with each leg. If you find yourself unable to hold the position, it is a sign that you need to work on your core strength and stability. If you trip on something, a strong core can give you the ability to remain upright. This is another reason why it’s important to exercise those muscles.


The hollowing test


The hollowing test is another quick and easy way of checking your core strength. First, take a deep breath. Then, as you exhale, pull your stomach muscles back toward your spine. If you cannot manage to hold them there for 10 seconds, it is another indicator that more core strength is required.

A man doing a modified plank
If your core is strong, you should be able to do a plank easily.

General muscle weakness


Lastly, we will be talking about general muscle weakness. This may be an indicator of inadequate core strength. Your core provides you with the power you need for motion and stability. If your arms and legs aren’t accommodating, it may be due to a weak core.


Why are core strength and stability so important...


After all this talk about how having poor core stability and strength can negatively affect your overall well-being, the first reason why it is essential should be apparent: your health. Another reason is that core strength and stability provide you with functional strength.


Having functional strength means that in an everyday situation, such as packing up your things and carrying them to the car when moving, it’ll be easier for you not to get hurt. To put it simply, in a situation like moving, having a good and strong core will help you do this safely while avoiding injuries. Core stability also allows you to keep your spine from moving while engaging in physical activity, such as walking, running, swimming, etc. Your core helps you control your body effectively. It enables you to use your arms and legs to the best advantage and prevents your spine from bending or flexing unintentionally.


You don’t need special equipment or a gym membership

All exercises that involve using your abdominal and back muscles in a well-coordinated fashion count as core exercises. For example, using free weights that involve maintaining a stable trunk can train and strengthen several of your muscles, including your core muscles. You can also try several specific core exercises. These can also significantly help to stabilize and strengthen your core. Some examples of core-specific exercises include planks, sit-ups, and fitness ball exercises. Almost all core exercises are very hard to do and can make your muscles sore. So, make sure that you work on relieving them after every workout session.

Two women doing yoga
A big part of yoga exercises is working on core strength and stability.

Another fantastic example of a great and beneficial exercise that will help improve your core strength and stability is the bridge. All you have to do is lie on your back with your knees bent. Remember to keep your back in a neutral position. This means that it should not be arched or pressed into the floor. Also, avoid tilting your hips, and tighten your abdominal muscles. Now raise your hips off the floor. You should now align your hips with your knees and shoulders. Hold the position for as long as you can without breaking your form.


These are the reasons why core strength and stability are so important.

 
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