Strengthening core muscles

Aside from occasional sit-ups, core exercises are often neglected. Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen. Core exercises teach these muscles to work together in harmony, leading to better balance and stability - whether on the playing field or in daily activities.

Most physical activities depend on stable core muscles. Strong core muscles make it easier to do everything from swinging a golf club, to getting a glass from the top shelf or bending down to tie your shoes. Weak core muscles leave you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries. You don't need to spend hours a day to develop a strong core. Instead, concentrate on doing each exercise with correct technique and proper form. Gradually build up to 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise. If you work your core muscles to fatigue during an exercise session, wait at least a day between workouts to give your muscles time to recover.

Core exercise can be done on the floor at home while you're watching your favorite shows or with a fitness ball. To do abdominal crunches with a fitness ball, sit on the ball with your feet resting on the floor, about hip-width apart. Cross your arms on your chest, tighten your abdominal muscles and lean back until your abdominal muscles kick in. Hold for three deep breaths, then return to the starting position and repeat.

Aerobic exercise and muscular fitness are the primary elements of most fitness programs, but to have a truly well-rounded fitness program, you should include core exercises in the mix as well.

If you need help incorporating core exercises into your routine or are interested in finding out how building a strong core can help contact me for a free consultation at 324-9900.

Corinna Maggy is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist. She can be reached by e-mail at corinna@adkbikeranch.com. The information contained within Health Matters is not a substitute for professional medical examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician before starting an exercise program or beginning any nutritional regimen.

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