1. A strong core helps with all our fitness demands. No matter what kind of fitness we do, a strong core improves our ability to do it!
2. Core exercises improve balance and stability. They train the muscles in our pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work together. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on a run, in a fitness class, or in daily activities. In fact, most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles.
3. Strengthening the core helps to avoid injury. If you think about the core as our inner foundation, it is easy to understand why keeping the core strong will help the rest of our body as well. Weak core muscles leave us susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries.
4. A strong core helps as we age. Many women experience stress incontinence due to pregnancy and delivery, etc. The pelvic floor is a primary muscle of the core, and strengthening it can help us to avoid some of these issues as we get older. Even men can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
5. We can do core exercises at home. We don’t need any special equipment or a gym membership. While there are core exercises that are done with a stability ball or other equipment, there are plenty of exercises that can be done on the floor in a bedroom without anything else. The plank is my favorite!
6. Strengthening the core improves posture. How? Building core strength helps our postural alignment. In other words, it’s easy to straighten up and stand tall, but it’s exceedingly hard to stay standing straight and tall for more than–say 20 seconds. Proper core strength is what gives our body the support it needs to stay in good posture, not just hold it momentarily until we sink back into our usual bad posture. As someone who really struggles to maintain good posture, this is key for me! Without proper core strength, there is nothing left to hold your body up other than the spine. Without core strength, the weight of the body begins to hang on the spine, and this gradually pulls the spine down, exaggerating its curves and pulling us into a slump. The result: chronic bad posture.
7. Building core strength boosts energy. Because more oxygen means more energy, being properly aligned (see #6) allows us to breathe deeply and maximize our oxygen.
8. A strong core can actually tune-up digestion. If you think about this, it is similar to why building the core muscles helps posture. When we have a stronger core, we are strengthening those muscles that aid in proper alignment. When we are properly aligned, all the organs are better able to function, including the digestive ones. Development and strengthening of abs and other core muscles also helps to keep us leaner. Too much fat around the middle compresses the digestive tract. The navigation of food and waste from one part of the body to other becomes more difficult. Exercise helps to trim fat and improves the functioning of digestive system.
9. Core exercises can help us look and feel toned. Let’s admit it, most of us would like more defined abdominal muscles. Core exercises are important for this. Although it takes aerobic activity to burn abdominal fat, core exercises can strengthen and tone the underlying muscles.