Age is a process that takes a toll on mobility and strength, among other things. Without proper maintenance, the body will grow more immobile and the risk of injuries, fractures and breaks will increase. It is important to look at the core muscles as a tree trunk, where the lower body is the roots and the upper body is the branches. In the face of a hurricane, it is the core muscles that will keep you upright and stable. Hence, building core muscles is of utmost importance!
Building Core Muscle: The Amazing Benefits of Core Strength for Everyday Life
While most people associated exercise with stronger legs, bigger butt or leaner arms, experts are emphasizing the importance of building core muscles. Here are some of the activities for which you need core strength:
- Taking a bath or a shower
- Getting dressed or undressed
- Cleaning or fixing the house and gardening
- Bending down to put your shoes on
- Scooping up child or grandchild
- Looking behind you or checking blind spots
- Occupational tasks that involve twisting, lifting, and even sitting for hours everyday
The Difference Between Abs and Core Strength
Strengthening the abs targets a couple of front-facing muscles, while building the core muscles includes the following:
- Diaphragm muscle on the top
- Ab muscles on the front
- Lower back muscles and glutes on the back
- Pelvic floor and hip muscles on the bottom
The 6 Best Core Exercises to Do at Home
The exercises below take no more than 10 minutes, require no equipment and improve your strength, pain, mobility, balance and overall health.
Lay on the back with the knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and the hands by the sides. Lift the hips to create a line from the knees to shoulders. Squeeze the core and pull the belly button toward the spine. You should maintain a straight line from the shoulders to the knees and hold for up to half a minute. Make 10 repetitions.
2. Straight Leg Drops
Begin on your back with the legs straight and up to a 90 degree angle. Lower the legs down very slowly, as you contract the abdominals and keep the lower back pressed against the floor. Raise legs back to the original position, keeping them straight. Repeat!
3. Front Toe Drops
The most important thing regarding this exercise is focusing on breath.
4. Side Knee Drops
Lie on the back, keeping the hands down at the sides and feet on the floor. Breathe in and bring the belly button in as you exhale. Roll the right knee down towards the right side, keeping the foot on the floor. Bring it back to the starting position. Alternate legs and repeat 20 times.
5. Hip Circles
Position yourself with the hands and knees on the ground. Keeping good posture, lift one bent knee off of the ground. Rotate the femur in the arc, keeping the knee in a bent position. The goal is to make a circle with the knee.
6. Four-Point Balance
This exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles and improves balance at the same time. There are a few variations, so find the one that works best for you.