Hi friends, happy Friday!
How was the week that went by? I am sure, went good.
Good for me too. I have soft-launched the first product from my ”Nutrition-Range”- a clean and delicious chocolate cake (available in all kinds of options – vegan, eggless, gluten-free etc.) and I hope to go about it in a bigger way once the brand/logo gets registered and the FSSAI registration is completed too.
Till then, it is just the chocolate cake but I owe you all a big “THANK YOU” (especially to those who ordered and gave positive feedbacks). I am glad you loved it and my belief that delicious food can easily be made clean/healthy with a little extra effort, holds true.
Coming back to today’s post, I want to talk about core strength. I see so many of us struggle with things and movements in life because of core-strength, without even knowing we lack in it. Unfortunately, if we don’t know, we can’t work on it and we keep suffering.
Core strength can change the quality of life, for most of us…and still we never worry about it because we never knew. Let’s change that today.
So important I find it that when I start my fitness studio (due in another 4-5 months once I complete my ACSM certification), I am primarily going to focus on core strength and movements initially. It takes a while but the results are phenomenal, trust me.
Let us see what core strength is.
First, What Is Core?
In loose terms, core is our body without limbs. Core is central to our existence. The muscles in our body (without limbs) including those in our chest, abdomen and pelvis, stabilize our body and the posture.
And Core Strength?
The stronger these muscles are, the better control we have on our body. Overall core strength actually involves many different muscles working in sync, to stabilize our spine, hip area (pelvis) and attached muscles. Not only all these muscles need to be strong but they also need to learn to work together.
The benefits of a strong core would be:
- It stabilizes our body allowing us easy and free movements with balance
- As it provides us balance and control, our risk of falling becomes less. Less falling, less injuries
- It provides proper posture to our body. Better posture means less pains and less injuries
- Everyday acts/movements become easier including household chores, bending, turning, sitting, standing etc.
- Very Important for people who work desk-jobs to avoid postural pains
- Lowers risk of back pain and injuries
- Provides good posture
- Very important for runners as well – do not underestimate core, if you run
- Strength and balance as we age
How To Know If We Have A Weak Core?
We can take the core test also, to see where one stands. Will come to that a little later. Meanwhile, here are a few signs that would tell you that you have a weak core, without even taking any test.
- If your back hurts after standing or even sitting for a while, you have a weak core
- Frequent lower back pains
- Poor posture – e.g. rounded back/hunching or drooping shoulders
- Poor balance in general
- Get breathless with little exertion
- Can’t stand for long and feel a general weakness in body and body strength
Now, Core Test
There are many core-tests that one can take to assess the core strength but the easiest one is the 60-sec plank.
All you need is a mat on floor and hold yourself in plank position on elbows. If you can hold for 60 seconds, you have good core strength and if you cannot, you do not.
If you are able to complete 60 sec plank, try one sit-up and a side plank on elbows. It you can, congratulations. It is time to move up the ladder!!
How To Strengthen Core
If you cannot complete these basic tests and show/have one or many signs of a weak core as we discussed above, do not worry. It can be worked upon. Slowly and steadily though. Do not be in a hurry or you would cause more damage than gains.
I am going to share some beginner’s exercises only because it is important that you start under supervision to avoid injuries. However, if you know the proper form, ONLY THEN include these exercises in your daily routine.
- Crunch and bicycle crunch – if you have existing back pain, go very slow
- Supine Toe -Tap
- Bird-Dog move
- Mountain climbers – go slow
- Basic plank on elbows – start with however much you can hold and slowly increase the duration to 60 seconds
However, I will repeat, it is important to start under supervision to avoid injuries and if you have existing back-pain etc, go very, very slow.
It’s a slow process but the payback is huge. It improves the overall quality of our life.
Hope you found today’s post useful. Check out my Insta-feed to see that over a period of 2 years, where I have reached in terms of core strength. You can too.
Stay consistent, give just 1-hour every day to yourself (5 days a week is good) for your fitness routine, eat well and see the magic happen. I kid you not!
Love, Health & Peace