Building the Core of Your Body

Tender Loving Core

I’m Barrie, and I warmly welcome you to my monthly blog Over50andfit.ca

Barrie stretching - so flexible

I have a question for you: How many muscles are there in your core?
Answer: 29 pairs of muscles.

Purpose of My Blog

My intent is to emphasize that the core is the powerhouse of all your movements, and that the abdominal muscles which wrap around your torso provide structural support for almost everything you do.

What is the Core?

The core is the centre of the body and stabilizes it, allowing you to move in any direction. The core encompasses your abs, hips, chest, pelvis, buttocks and back.  The core muscles are the central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower back. No matter where motion starts, the core ripples upward and downward to adjoining links of the chain. Everyday acts such as dressing, bathing, tying your shoe laces and sitting in a chair are just a few of the many everyday acts that rely on your core. Even less obvious tasks rely on your core muscles: sitting at a desk, typing and computer use.

Benefits of a Strong Core

  • Makes it easier to perform most physical activities
  • Increases stability, balance and posture
  • Builds comprehensive abdomen strength
  • Protects some of your organs
  • Provides an integral part of a well-rounded fitness program
  • Can reduce or prevent back pain
  • Can help prevent falls and injuries

Why You should Strengthen Your Core Muscles

The core is a lot more than chiseled abs. As the sturdy central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body, it is crucial to develop your core. A strong, flexible core is fundamental to almost everything you do. A weak core may undermine your quality of life, and prevent you from doing many everyday activities.

How Strong Is Your Core?

If you wish to know how strong your core is, these tests are intended for those who either do not exercise or for those who have not exercised for a long period of time. They are just two of a myriad of exercises to choose from.

Plank test

Get into the standard plank position: lie prone on the floor with your hands facing down and alongside your shoulders. Lift your body so that it is supported by your upper arms, which should be perpendicular to the floor. No part of the body touches the floor apart from your hands and toes. Ensure your body is in a straight line from head to toes. Hold this position for one minute.

Plank test

Side plank test

Get into the standard side plank position: lie on the floor on your right side with one foot stacked on the other, and your right arm extended away from your body. Slowly lift your hips so that your body is supported by your right knee and upper

right arm – this arm should be perpendicular to the floor. Place your left arm on your hip. Your body should be in a straight line from your knees to your head. Hold this position for 30 seconds, and repeat on your left side.

Side plank test

Caution: If at any time during these exercises you feel pain, stop immediately. If you are able to perform these exercises, then your core is in fairly solid condition. If you cannot, you are encouraged to try easier core exercises – a plethora of them can be found online.

A very good site for core exercises is shown here.

Please feel free to share your comments and questions.

In my next blog, I will discuss the benefits of resistance training.

Yours in fitness,

Barrie

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Allan

Hi Barrie,

As usual, I learned several things on this topic that I had not known previously. How do you keep doing this?

I can wholeheartedly support your recommendation to pay attention to your core to reap benefits in every area of well being and fitness. I only wish I’d learned this years ago and avoided lots of back injuries and pain.

By the way, you could be a pirate for all the time you spend on the plank….lol.

Allan

Barrie Street

Allan, your words add fire to my motivation. With regard to my morning plank-ing, I had never considered becoming a pirate. Maybe I should call my method Pirates, to rival Pilates 😎

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