The trunk of the human body runs from just below the breastbone to the hips. This comprises the core. The core muscles are comprised of several different muscles groups that make up the abdomen, hips and back. These muscles govern the ability to stabilize, mobilize and balance the entire body from head to toe. They also protect the organs from external damage. Unfortunately most often than not fat and adipose tissue is stored within the abdomen and around the hips. Excess weight not only reduces ones ability to move but it puts pressure on the surrounding organs, such as the diaphragm and lungs, which are required to breath. This role reversal actually can start to damage the internal organs rather than protect them. This excess weight not only increases instability within the body but it increases the risk of injury and reduces our ability to do physical activity. Therefore maintaining a tone and strengthened core will keep you physically happy and healthy.
Most core exercises emphasize strengthening and toning the abdominals. Although this is one of main groups of core muscles it is not the only one. By working solely on this one muscle group you are more likely to trigger exercise induced low back pain, which can lead to injury. This occurs because the muscles of the back are weak and the abdominal muscles, which are anterior to the back, are being contracted and relaxed repeatedly. This pulls on the muscles of the back, which can cause sprains, strains and muscle tears. Therefore it is always recommended to work opposing muscle groups at the same time to avoid risk of injury.
That’s not to say that working the abs is not necessary as part of a core training session. Abdominal exercises are essential to maintaining a strong core. Core strengthening is hard work and should be done on a regular basis. The core is so vitally important to the body because it holds the body’s center of gravity. Therefore whenever part of the body moves it originates from the trunk of the body. If your core is weak then movement will be labor intensive and difficult. A firm torso will allow for quicker movement, strength, agility, stability, balance and the ability to be more physically active.
It’s most peoples dream to have 6-pack abs, however this type of definition is not necessary to maintain a strong core. The abdominals have several layers of muscles, which require different types of exercises to strengthen each layer of muscle. This is why core exercises are usually the most difficult and why people usually shy away from them. Most core exercise do not require exercise equipment or a membership to the gym. They can be done in the comfort of your own home. Almost all core exercise requires you to hold or move your own body weight through movements. This is how the muscles tone and firm. By doing core exercises you will not only increase your strength, balance and stability, you will reduce your risk of injury and increase your weight loss especially around the problem areas such as the stomach, hips and thighs.
Sarah Labdar, “The Importance of Strengthening Your Core”, Everyday Health