Four Ways You Can Improve Your Core Today
While an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, sometimes you can do a little of both… One example is when it comes to taking care of your core – you know the one. Your core consists of muscles located around your torso. If you’re like many people, you may ignore it, or think about it in terms of something you’ll get to one of these days; however, if certain muscles are weak and underused, you can end up with problems elsewhere. By working on strengthening your core now, you can help take the load off of other muscle groups (which may be picking up the slack) and you can also prevent future pain and injury!
Three Ways to Help Your Core
- Improve Your Posture: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – stand up straight! When you’re sitting, standing, walking, running, or otherwise upright, engage your abdominal muscles and roll your shoulders back. Keep your head in a neutral position.
- Practice Planks: Don’t panic if you haven’t done a plank lately (or ever). If you’re new to planks, see the photos below. You can lengthen the side plank by extending through your heels or shorten it by stopping at your knees. Be sure your abdominal muscles are engaged. While you can work planks in to any workout, you can also practice planks during the commercial breaks of your favorite tv show.
- Work toward Your Health: If you’re carrying extra weight, it can cause poor posture, less core strength, back pain, and other health problems. By dropping excess weight, you can reduce the strain placed on this muscle group.
- Gentle stretching: If you aren’t ready for a yoga or Pilates class (which has a heavy focus on core exercise), you can make a habit of gently stretching each day to help keep your torso and back flexible.
Pro Tip: If you’re not sure you’ve engaged your abdominal muscles, practice feeling your lower abdominal muscle when relaxed, and also when you’ve tightened these muscles. Once you get comfortable with the difference, you’ll know what it feels like to engage your abs.
Your core is the unsung hero of your torso, and you may not appreciate it until your lower back hurts because it’s been doing too much work and your abs haven’t been pulling their share of the load. By practicing strengthening and stretching, you can help reduce pain and also reduce the risk of future injury. Many activities will benefit from a healthy core: from golfing, to running, to cycling, and beyond.
If you’re having trouble with your core muscles, or other problems of the musculoskeletal system, we’re ready to help. Body One Physical Therapy is locally-owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. You’re the most important part of your own recovery and health – our team of caring, expert physical therapists works with clients of all ages and activity levels and we’d love to show you why we’re Indy’s best clinic. Call today to find out how we can help you!