All About Core Muscles

apple core compared to core muscles

What Are Core Muscles?

Core muscles include the abdominal, the back, and the pelvic muscles. They are basically those muscles of the trunk and pelvis of the body.

What Do They Do?

If these muscles are weak or are not functioning the way they should in a balanced right and left, and forward and backward manner, everything we do will be affected. When these muscles are strong, everything works better. When they are weak, everything becomes more difficult to do. When they are strong we actually feel better, look better, and have more energy.

What Is Affected?

Some of the things affected are:

  • the way we sit
  • the way we stand
  • our posture
  • reaching
  • bending
  • running
  • walking
  • getting out of bed
  • aging
  • even our alertness and thinking capabilities
  • our circulation
  • our respiration
  • our digestion
  • outdoor activities such as hiking and backpacking
  • and every other little or big thing we do.
  • even our mood is positively affected by it

When our core is strong we will more easily radiate a positive mental attitude. This in turn affects our jobs, and our relationships with family, friends, and co-workers.

Core muscles are even involved in all of the varied daily uses of the arm and leg extremities. No matter what our sport is or activity for the day might be, a strong core makes all of those necessary movements more effective, more coordinated, and more energetic. Even sitting at a desk is easier if our core muscles are strong.

What About Muscle Building and Core Muscles?

Even when one is building muscles in the extremities through weight training, a strong core makes all of those lifts easier, more effective, and efficient with less injury. The results are readily seen.

A strong core is essential in activities which require carrying weight. A few of these activities include:

  • backpacking
  • carrying a child in a baby carrier on your back
  • a job that requires a lot of lifting

The bottom line is, if the core muscles are strong then everything else works better as well.

More Benefits.

  • Strong core muscles make us less susceptible to injury
  • Shock from activities is more easily absorbed
  • The stability of the joints and other tissues are improved

What Is and Where Is the Center of Gravity for the Human Body?

The center of gravity or center of mass is that point in the body which, if it were supported at that point, would be balanced in any position. That center of mass has been referred to as a pivot point.

It is that pivot point around which the entire body can revolve and still be in balance.

It's location in the body is generally considered to be in the lower stomach area at the level of the top of the pelvis and in the center of the body when standing with correct posture. Because that center of gravity is dynamic, it will move some, depending upon the action and position of the body. Even adipose (fat) tissue can affect the location of the pivot point.

In addition, if a muscle group over-powers its opposing muscle group or if some core muscles are not as flexible as others, the center of gravity will be affected and posture and every other benefit already mentioned, would be compromised.

An example would be in the case of bending forward at the waist. When this is done the center of gravity actually moves forward towards the front.

What Does the Center of Gravity and the Pivot Point Have to do With Core Muscles?

The center of gravity or pivot point is totally surrounded by core muscles when in the standing postion and in most other activities in which we participate.

When the core is strong and balanced, the center of gravity is properly positioned to provide the most effective, co-ordinated movements with the least amount of energy expenditure. Everything we do will be where it should be and will appear to be more fluid like in movement.

When the core is strong and funtioning properly, balance is more easily achieved. Therefore, activities such as gymnastics, yoga, dancing, etc. in which balance is important will appear to be done with less effort and will appear to be more natural.

Add to this greater flexability of these muscles (the trunk of the body and pelvis), and everything just seems to get better. Even such things as chronic low back pain and other body discomforts seem to improve.

Equipment to strengthen core muscles

How Do We Strengthen the Core?

Exercise.
Exercise is, of course, the main thing we can do to strengthen our core. Mayo Clinic says that there are five important components in exercise no matter where or how we exercise. They are:

  • Aerobic Workout
  • Strength Training
  • Core Strengthening
  • Stretching
  • Balance

Chiropractic.
Spinal manipulation by a chiropractor to free up the spinal joints and allow freedom of movement which is decreased by misalignment of fixations is also effective in working with the core.

Massage Therapy.
Massage works well to relieve muscle tension and to allow the core muscles to function properly.

Equipment.

Much benefit can be derived by using home equipment such as:

  • wobble boards to develop balance
  • foam rollers to release the myofacial restrictions and trigger points in tissues
  • an exercise ball to enhance balance and promote greater strength.

Personally.

If getting sore is an indication that I am working hard, all I have to do is these basic core exercises and I know what my core is all about. I love doing these exercises because they can be done at home, even in front of the TV. They can be done with very little equipment - mainly a watch or timer that can tell you when one grueling minute is up. Be sure to follow this link to learn some of the basic core exercises.

And when I persist and the soreness goes away, I feel straighter, taller and more poised. I find it easier to keep my shoulders back and improve my posture. So put a smile on your face, take 15 or 20 minutes and work that core.


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BACK STRETCHER