Most people have heard that core strength is important but many do not actually know what muscles this involves. “The core” refers to all the musculature found between your ribcage and hips or pelvis. This includes the front of your body, back, and sides. There are not many bony structures found in the area of the core muscles so one of the primary functions of our core is to provide protection to our internal organs that are located in our abdomen.
If we did have bony structures protecting our organs, like the ribcage protects our heart and lungs, that would significantly limit the mobility of our trunk. So the 2nd function of our core muscles is to allow movement of the trunk through the spine and hips. Our core muscles are organized either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, allowing our trunk to bend forward, backward, sideways, twist, or do combination movements.
The 3rd function of the core is to provide stability. As mentioned previously, the only bony support in this area is the spine so the core muscles have to provide additional support to decrease the stress on the spine. The core muscles also control how much movement is allowed between the pelvis and lumbar spine. Too little or too much movement can result in pain and/or injury over time.
Incorporating core exercises into your fitness routine is highly advised. When these muscles are trained properly, they will work together to improve balance and stability, both during movement and with static positions. Weak core muscles make you susceptible to poor posture, back pain, and increased risk for injury.
Many core strengthening exercises are not complicated and can be performed in your home without any special equipment. If you think you could benefit from performing core exercises but are not sure where to start, contact one of our Physical Therapists at Advance Physical Therapy for a free consultation.