Strengthening your core

The body’s core is its centre of balance, and it provides us with the strength we need for a huge range of bodily functions. Keeping your core strong will help minimise back pain and muscle weakness, and improves your overall health.

What are the core muscles?

Your core muscles run down the centre of your body and include abdominal muscles, back muscles, and the pelvis. They work together to help the body maintain balance, posture and strength. Core strength is especially important if you suffer any kind of lower back pain, as a strong core improves posture and mitigates many aches and pains.

Strengthening the core

Check out a few of these core strengthening activities and do your abs a favour….

  1. Yoga: Gentle exercise through yoga or pilates can help strengthen the core.
  2. Planking: The plank is a classic core strengthening move that’s fiendishly hard at first but gets easier with practice. Planking is great for the whole body, from your arms all the way down through your legs, and is thought to be better exercise for your abs than crunches.Start by getting into push-up position on the floor, but rest on your arms at 90-degree angles. Straighten your whole body out, through to your feet up on your toes. Use your core muscles to hold the position for as long as possible. Each day, hold the plank pose for a few more seconds.
  3. Balance ball: The simple act of sitting on a balance ball can help you strengthen your core muscles. You can also use the ball as an exercise tool. It is good for push-ups and crunches in particular.
  4. Bicycles: Start off in a crunch position with your hands behind your ears and reach your elbow to the opposite knee, while extending the other leg out. Repeat the motion, alternating sides, and working your legs as if riding a bicycle. Continue the motion for an extended period of time, at least 30 seconds, before resting and then repeating.

Try to make time for a few core-strengthening sessions a week. Your whole body will thank you for it!

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