What is a strong core?
Core strength is not all about having a six-pack. Yes it may look aesthetically pleasing, however, this toned outer layer of abdominal musculature is not the same as a strong core.
So what is core strength and why is it important? The core is a group of muscles that stabilise and control the pelvis and spine, as well as influencing the legs and upper body during functional tasks. Core strength is less about power and more about the maintenance of ideal postures and l to unload the joints, promoting ease of dynamic movement. For the average person, this helps them maintain the ability to perform basic tasks like getting on and off the floor, standing up from a chair, sitting comfortably at a desk, or performing househouse without pain. For athletes on the other hand, it promotes and facilitates more efficiency of dynamic functional movement, therefore preventing injury and improving performance. Having a strong or stable core can often also prevent overuse injuries, and can help promote ease of rehab from acute injury. The core also includes the pelvic floor musculature, and maintaining core stability can help treat and prevent certain types of incontinence. The problem with a weak core As we age, we develop degenerative changes, especially in our joints where the cartilage is subject to wear and tear. In the majority of cases, we can keep symptoms at bay by promoting functional mobility and adopting the appropriate core exercises. Having strong and stable postural muscles helps control our skeletal and other structures, allowing them to move better. Having an imbalanced core can often lead to problems up and down the body, leading to Dysfunction, injury and pain. An example is - Knee pain which is often caused by insufficient pelvic stabilisation. Some runners also develop neck and back pain when running because the “shock absorbers” in their core could use some work. Corrective core strengthening programs A good core program is not all about repetition of exercise and focuses more on control awareness. People with good core strength learn to identify and activate the muscles needed to accomplish the task. Often with chronic pain, our core muscles switch off from what they are meant to be doing and lose association to the area they control. This is often where we ‘lose confidence’. Learning to activate the core requires concentration, and leads to being more in tune with the body. There is no one method of core strengthening that works for everyone. The correct and specific routine should be adopted and sometimes associated Pilates. Here at Dynamic Osteopaths in Solihull we have specialised osteopaths with a background in corrective physical therapy. Here we can provide one-on-one instruction and find a method that works for any person with any background at any ability level.
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