Core Strength: How Good Is Yours?

January 2017

Maintaining a strong body core is important at any age. Balance, posture and back health are linked to core strength. Your core is the vital “foundation” of all your body’s movements, whether you are walking, carrying a heavy bag or playing a sport.

There are many ways that you can work on core strength. Many people mistakenly think that their “abs” or abdominal muscles are the only core muscles. In fact, the core muscle group includes all of the muscles located in the torso that keep the body stable and balanced. It makes sense when you think about it: It takes many different muscles working together to keep your body well aligned during different activities.

We need to engage those muscles regularly. These days, as our lives become increasingly sedentary, we spend more and more time sitting, with our core muscles relaxed. This sedentary time happens at home, in vehicles and at work. Adults today, on average, spend more than half of their waking hours at their workplace, often sitting at a computer for most of the workday.

A great way to start working your core can be as simple as being aware of your posture throughout the day. For example, several times a day, take a minute to stand tall, relax your shoulders and think about your posture.

Of course, exercise is important, too. Make sure you begin safely. Talk to your doctor to see if you are ready to be active. Begin slowly and consult a certified exercise professional if you are unsure about how to begin your new exercise routine. If you are just starting to focus on increasing your core strength, it is a great investment to enroll in a class or work with a professional who can teach you the proper technique for a variety of core exercises.

Source: Government of Alberta, Canada’s “Healthy U” program

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