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What is core strength and what does it really mean?

Although a beach ready body may be all the motivation you need for building strong core muscles, there are plenty of other reasons to get your core into shape. The terms “core” and “core strength” are some of the most common phrases heard around the gym and in the fitness world. Many of us desire good core strength but we don’t often think what that really means or why it is so beneficial.

What is core strength? Core strength must not be confused with the washboard abs featured in infomercials and magazines. The core extends beyond the abdominals and includes everything besides your arms and legs. The core assists in stabilizing, enables you to resist forces of gravity and effectively move your limbs in the direction and speed you want to.

How does your core assist in stabilizing? Your core protects the spine by creating stiffness which limits excessive movement in any direction, therefore the cores responsibility may be described as limiting movement, resulting in an increase in stability.

Engaging the core during exercise makes the core better at doing its ‘job.’ An exercise completed with good form is also exercise for the core; consistently increasing the load of an exercise makes the core stronger. Developing a strong core means building stability and strength. It is important to consider building core stability before building strength. A strong core ensures strong and pain free movements during exercise, recreational activities and even your daily task requirements.

Where do I begin?  Start by focusing on your posture.  When you are standing or walking engage your core by pulling your belly button towards your spine. Through progression you are able to start challenging these muscles a little bit more by balancing on one foot and incorporating equipment such as swiss balls and resistance bands.

The core as it says is the “core” of your health and fitness and key to a strong body – look after it .

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