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HomeHealth and LifestyleWhy Training Your Core is Essential for Good Health

Why Training Your Core is Essential for Good Health

KAWARTHA LAKES-Every movement starts with the core. Core muscles stabilize segments of the body, act as a shock absorber for the whole body and maintain good posture. Think of your core muscles as the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. Improving your core strength through regular resistance exercises can improve overall mobility, stability and help you to maintain your alignment well into older adulthood.

What is the “core” anyway? Your core contains the muscles of the hips, pelvis, abdomen, and trunk. Anytime you are sitting, standing or moving, you’re using core muscles to maintain good posture. If you’re slumping or slouching as you sit, stand, or move around, a weak or unbalanced core is probably the problem.

When you initially stand up, the core starts that movement. When you stand, turn, bend, reach, twist, stoop, carry something, maintain your balance, walk, jog, swim, or participate in any physical activity, the action begins from the center of your body and transfers out through your arms and legs.

A lot of people do not realize that the core is not just the “6 pack”. The core is from your sternum to your pubic bone and all the way around like a soup can. You can do sit ups for days, but you are only working one tiny piece of the core. A lot of people miss out on proper core training by ignoring the musculature of the hips and shoulders and everything in between!

Core training is also about training movements. A lot of us spend a lot of time in flexion, but what about extension, rotation, and lateral bending? This is why I love teaching Pilates because it incorporates all of these movements!

Pilates focuses on building very strong, deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine. It’s important to strengthen these muscles because they support the whole spinal column, creating better posture and allowing your bone structure to line up properly. A poorly aligned skeleton is a recipe for injury and pain. 

Many Pilates exercises are performed in reclining or sitting positions, and most are low impact and partially weight-bearing. It also can positively affect postural positions like Kyphosis, Lordosis, and Scoliosis. Pilates is also great for improving common postural conditions like “forward head posture” which many of us have from extensive screen time and cell phone use.

Training the core also helps with back pain. To maintain a healthy back, you must have balanced strength between the back of the body and the front. I am constantly educating my clients on this. Again, when we spend a lot of time in certain positions (or movements) but ignore others, those muscles become “shut off”. This creates an imbalance in the body, which leads to poor alignment, which leads to pain. 
Often when we seek physiotherapy, the goal is to prescribe exercises that promote balance in the body. By proactively doing core training, you are avoiding pain and injuries in the future!

I recommend doing core training 5 days per week for best results. If you are having trouble getting started, why not try an exercise class or hire a knowledgeable and accredited trainer? I offer Pilates classes Monday through Saturday that are suitable for all levels. Check out my offerings over at www.sweathappywellness.com

Becky Sheehey is a Holistic Health Coach, and a Pilates and Movement Expert with a background in Kinesiology. She lives in Lindsay.

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Becky Sheehey
Becky Sheehey
Becky Sheehey is a Holistic Health Coach, and a Pilates and Movement Expert with a background in Kinesiology. She lives in Lindsay.

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