Strong core muscles are not just nice to have for summer, but are essential for every day. Core muscles give you the balance to reach a tall shelf or bend down and tie your shoes.
They can also give you the performance to swing a golf club or tennis racket, the stability and balance to kayak and hike, and help runners with endurance.
Strong core muscles can also improve your posture, help to protect your back, and reduce pain. From lifting groceries to your grandchildren, a strong core is a must for everyday performance.
It’s important to protect our spine when we perform exercises for our abs. The “go-to” exercises of the past for abs was sit-ups or crunches; however, performing these exercises puts a lot of pressure on the spine with the repetitive flexion motion.
Sit-ups and crunches mainly work one portion of the abdominals, the rectus abdominis and hip flexors, and can also put a lot of strain on your neck if not performed correctly.
If you are at risk for osteoporosis, it is important to limit flexing and twisting of the spine, especially when lifting excessive weight. A strong core and controlled movement are critical to protect your spine if these motions are going to be performed.
Before diving into exercise, it’s important to activate the core muscles properly. The transverse abdominis is the deepest of these muscles and acts as a support belt or girdle around our midsection.
Before beginning your core exercises, pull your abdominal muscles in to contract the transverse abdominis. You can practice engaging this muscle by saying “HA!” or with a loud cough.
I often tell my clients to pretend they are protecting themselves from a punch to the tummy. This will allow you to feel the transverse abdominis muscle engage and practice keeping the muscle engaged while performing more challenging exercises.
You might not have realized some of the exercises you are already performing can engage your abdominals. Try performing free weight exercises using weights with only one side at a time. The weight will require your core to engage to keep your posture upright.
Other exercises, like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and even running, can activate the core muscles without targeting them specifically. Sticking to these exercises will help you to build a strong core. From balance and strength to poised posture, strong core muscles are essential for everyday!
What core exercises do you do every day? Do you engage in activities that mimic core exercises? What home chores do you think would be a great way to strengthen your core? Please join the conversation and share your experiences!
Tags Fitness Over 60
Thanks for doing the article on exercises to strengthen your core muscles ! Does anyone have anymore good exercises to build up your core muscles? I had 10 compression fractures in my T-spine & L-spine a few months ago. My Dr told me to do core muscle exercises to help with the severe pain I’m still having even though the fractures have healed. Thanks!
These exercises look great! I lift weights and use my rowing machine a few times a week which helps, but these would be a great addition.