When you hear the words “core strengthening”, like most people, you probably imagine a lean, trim waistline and rock hard, washboard abs. And who could blame you? The visible perks of a strong, stable core are hard to ignore. But the truth is that the benefits of training your core, a complex network that includes your abdominal, back and pelvic area muscles, go way beyond just a tight midsection.
4 reasons to get on a stability ball right away:
1. Better Balance
Most people never think twice about their physical balance, until they start to lose it. The fact is that good balance is important in almost every aspect of physical movement, making it the key to optimal agility and injury prevention. Core strengthening exercises teach the various muscles that make up your core to work together in the most efficient way possible, allowing for improved balance.
The benefits of this improvement can’t be overstated. Better balance is essential in allowing you to perform everyday activities ranging from climbing stairs, to reaching, bending, twisting and lifting, without straining your muscles or worse, throwing your back out!
2. Bye-Bye to Aches
If you’re mystified about the cause of those everyday headaches, often referred to as tension headaches, look no further than your centre. Core muscles that have deteriorated, going slack and weak from way too many hours spent sitting, are directly linked to the flare up of tension headaches. As the frequency of these headaches increases, they cause a spike in muscle and joint inflammation and pain, leading to tenderness and soreness in your back, neck and even jaw. Fortunately, core strengthening exercises can gradually retrain your trunk and pelvic area muscles, taking them from mushy to strong and stable and clearing up the source of these pains.
3. Perfect Posture
Well-trained, strong core muscles can transform you from slumped over and slovenly to perfectly poised. Not only does proper posture give off a great physical impression, signaling to everyone you meet that you are alert, aware and confident, but it also prevents spinal stress that can bring on curvatures, pinched nerves, improper spinal alignment and even herniated discs.
4. Deep Breathing
Because your core muscles are attached to your diaphragm, core training and strengthening exercises translate into improved breathing, meaning you can take in bigger breathes of the oxygen necessary to enhance your heart’s blood pumping ability.
3 Simple Core Strengthening Exercises
Motivated to whip your core into shape? Here are the best and most simple core strengthening exercises to try:
1. The Back Arch
- Begin in a face down position, with your arms and legs extended.
- Next, try lifting your chest and legs simultaneously while keeping your arms stretched out before you.
- Slowly lower your arms, legs and chest back down, before repeating the pose.
2. The Plank
- Begin this move in a facedown position, with your upper torso propped up and balanced on your elbows.
- Keep your knees straight while your elbows and toes make contact with the ground and all other parts of your body are off the ground.
- Maintain this position for as long as you can, lowering your hips when tired, before resuming the pose again.
3. The Stability Ball Variation Plank
- Place your forearms on the ball, keeping them properly spaced to improve your stability.
- Balance on your toes, keeping your body fully extended, and slowly move the ball forward until you feel a slight pull in your core.
- Remain in this position for as long as you can. Slowly release and repeat.
Your core muscles play an essential role in a variety of important tasks, from safeguarding your organs to literally holding you up. A strong centre can also confer visually appealing benefits like a whittled down waistline and an overall fit and balanced physical appearance. These easy moves will have you reaping all of these rewards in no time!