We have all heard about the core, but recently I have been learning about core stabilizing muscles. These are basically the muscles that are the foundation of our movements…the ones that not only keep us balanced, but also keep us moving. Core stability means using the muscles of the trunk to support the spine and body during activity. The trunk muscles include those in the abdomen and back, around the neck and shoulder blades, and around the pelvis, hips, groin, and buttocks. Strengthening your trunk gives greater stability and power to the whole body for it’s activities. Core stabilization helps improve posture, balance, strength, and coordinated movement, and helps protect the body from injury. One of the exciting things for me to think about in terms of fitness is how connected all the parts of our bodies are, and how crucial this is to all of our movements.
Physical therapist Barbara Green, a specialist in pelvic floor therapy, has been working with me on some of these core stabilization exercises, and I have been amazed at how simple they are. But what I have also realized is that regardless of how simple some might look or seem, many of them are not easy to do (at least to do well). The following is one core stabilizing exercise that requires no equipment, and you can easily try at home:
A Simple Core Stabilizing Exercise
Stand facing a mirror (full length) with your feet close together. Carefully lift one foot slightly off the ground, making sure that your body barely moves. Doing this in front of the mirror assures you that the rest of your body doesn’t move (or just a fraction). If you cannot do this without shifting your body stance for balance, try holding very lightly onto the back of a chair while you do it. The important thing is that you try not to move anything but the foot (and even that you just lift slightly). You can hold it for 20 seconds and then try the other side. Work on this move for 5 minutes everyday and you will gain strength in those core stabilizing muscles. I am all about getting a bang for your buck, and so I love this kind of exercise…it is very small, but very efficient!
Are you working on core stabilization?