Abs & the Core are the same thing, right?
Nope. Years ago when I was first told this it blew my mind. I just assumed abs do it all, but they are just one part of the core. The core is where it is at my friends so here is what you should know:
What is the core?
Without getting into the technical mambo-jumbo, the core is the centre from which your body creates movement, strength and flexibility. There are a lot of muscles included and attached, but I tend to think of it as the spot that everything tiers to, in some way or another.
Are crunches going to make it strong?
Yes and no. They are one of the exercises that will help but you also need to work the back of the core and the sides for it to be strong. This means finding new exercises that target these sections and including them in your work out. You can try a number of Pilates exercises and basic holds from an all fours position (like the Bird-Dog) to activate the rear core, and side bridges are an example of what you can do to target the obliques. And of course (shameless plug) you can come to a Corethentic class where we are all about working through the entire whilst making it fun and entertaining!
Why should I work on my core?
Having a strong core helps keep good posture, protect the internal organs housed in the centre of our bodies, create stamina and endurance in connecting areas, and helps us to prevent falls and issues as we age. And that’s just the basics! The spine, Immune system, sleeping patterns and general health can all be linked to having a good core. Everything in the body is connected so if we have a big weakness it places pressure on every other organ, muscles, joint and ligament. Imagine for a moment that you have an issue with your arms and you can’t use them for a few weeks- how will you get out of bed or a chair? The Core would have to do the work, and if it is weak you have a big problem.
We often forget about how important the core is, and focus our attention on the limbs because that is what we can physically see; but every part of the body is important; and as the core is the “glue” in the middle it has even more importance for a long and healthy life. So if you want strong arms, glutes, legs and chest then you need to work the core too. Dancers know this to be true and it is why they are capable of almost super-human movement. So think about your body as being interconnected and make sure you tap into your powerful centre to get the most out of your body!