There’s more than one reason why your core is called the “powerhouse” of your body.
Not only is it front and center, facilitating our ability to carry out nearly every move we make, but it is also influential in helping you with several other tasks, other than movement, which you may not realize.
In other words, there are more reasons than ever to do that abs routine!
Here are 4 reasons to focus more on your core:
Posture and Standing
In many cases, poor posture goes back to your core. When our core is not regularly used and activated and the muscles aren’t worked, it becomes easy for the abdominal muscles to slack off and underperform, the same as any other muscle in the body. Starting a regular routine of core exercises and becoming aware of your posture is a great place to start towards improvement.
Our core is made up of a series of layers of muscles, which are at the front (our 6 pack), on the sides (obliques) and deeper in behind in a second layer. It is like a network of muscles that supports our body physically, and protects our organs in behind. The sheer volume of muscle present means that these muscles are strong, but we don’t always activate them and keep them strengthened. Instead we rely on our back to perform tasks like sitting up, lifting objects and bending over. When you strengthen our core and learn to use these muscles, you will have a reduction in back pain due to the muscles doing the work instead of your back.
As mentioned above these muscles protect our organs. The main series of organs that they protect is those of our digestive system. You can think of it as the casing of protection around this system, which keeps everything from your liver to your small intestine to your pancreas to your stomach, tightly contained and in its place. And when everything is where it is supposed to be physically, it functions optimally. Optimized gut function is at the root of increased energy levels, better focus, enhanced concentration, decreased fatigue and overall better mood and emotional regulation.
That lack of inflexibility you may think you have, or your struggles to bend over and get up and down from sitting on the floor, may be simply because your powerhouse is compromised! Your core needs to be strong and activated in order to allow you to carry out regular day to day movements easily and without pain. When you take some time to improve the functionality of your core, learn how to activate it and work to strengthen it, all movements of your body will be enhanced and become easier. And you may even find you can perform movements that you thought you couldn’t complete!
The core is about far more than just aesthetics, and when it comes to having a functional abdominal region, a six pack is not the goal. Instead, it’s about understanding what your core does, learning how to activate it and use it, and then working to strengthen your core as a whole to give you more power and improve your quality of life!
By: Laura Peill, RHN, BScH