Strengthening Your Core to Prevent Injury and Stay Healthy

Your core is your center of balance and strength for almost everything you do.

Your core muscles are a group of muscles running down the center of your body. These include your abdominal muscles, back muscles, and your pelvis. These core muscles work together to help you
maintain balance, posture and strength.

A strong core is good for your overall health, but it’s especially important to work on strengthening this group of muscles if you suffer with any kind of lower back pain. Working on your core can help you to improve your posture, which prevents aches and pains.

If you’re sporty, it’s wise to keep your core nice and strong because a strong set of core muscles is vital for athletic performance and helps to prevent injuries.

Can I Strengthen My Core?
It’s easy to strengthen these important muscles with a few exercises you can try at home. They also have the added benefit of helping to tone your abdominal muscles, back, glutes, and legs.

Easy core strengthening moves:

1. Yoga and Pilates
Yoga and Pilates type exercises are very popular workout routines that are aimed toward building a strong and healthy core. You can find yoga and Pilates videos online, on DVD, or even learn poses from books and magazines. These are easy to do from home and most routines do not even require any sort of equipment.

Yoga Moves: http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/6-yoga-poses-rock-solid-core

Pilates Moves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QURr_ujngCg

2. Planking
The Plank is a classic core strengthening move that’s fiendishly hard at first but gets easier with practice. Planking is great for the whole body, from your arms all the way down through your legs, and is thought to be better exercise for your abs than crunches.

Start by getting into push-up position on the floor, but rest on your arms at 90-degree angles. Straighten your whole body out, through to your feet up on your toes. Use your core muscles to hold the position for as long as possible. Each day, hold the Plank pose for a few more seconds.

Here’s a tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dz0oFaVGuh4

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3. Balance ball
Using a balance ball helps you to focus on your core muscles when doing certain exercises. You can use a balance ball to do push-ups, crunches, and more. Even simply sitting on a balance ball instead of a chair helps you strengthen your core muscles during the day.

4. Bicycles
Starting in crunch position with your hands behind your ears, reach your elbow to the opposite knee, extending the other leg out. Repeat the motion, alternating sides, and working your legs as if riding a bicycle. Continue the motion for an extended period of time, at least 30 seconds, before resting and then repeating.

Try to make time for a few core-strengthening sessions a week. Your whole body will thank you for it!

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