The Importance of Working Your Core Muscles

Woman Doing Sit-ups --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisWhy do aging people appear to be hunched over or slouching?

The reason is that many people do not do simple exercises to extend their neck to its full range. This will cause the muscles to shorten and forces people to hunch over. We all must remember that long hours of reading, sewing, typing, or standing at a workbench can later on take their toll.
One of the best actions to avoid this is regular exercises that stretch the muscles and improve flexibility. Special focus on the core muscles is important to aid in the prevention of deposits of calcium salts in the joints. When this occurs, it will cause some immobilization and at this time there is nothing can be done to reverse it.

What Are Core Muscles?
Core muscles are the muscles found at the oblique, abdominals, lower back, and the glutes. These four areas of the body frame the posture of a person. They are the central part for all the strength that is needed to boost carry out different physical activities. Core muscles also maintain equilibrium and assist to stabilize the system every time the person is working out and moving.

Strengthening Core Muscles
The main responsibility of the core muscles is to provide enough power to the body in order to enable it to cope up with the dynamic challenges of every physical activity that a person encounters.
Health and fitness experts have realized that it is important to strengthen the core muscles. Through some series of experiments and research, they have found out that having a stronger core can lessen a lot of health problems concerning posture and it can also improve the endurance of the back all the way through the day.

Some of the benefits of strong core muscles include:

1. Strengthening core muscles will improve posture and prevent low back pain of the muscular origin.
This means that as you incorporate stretching exercises in your routine, taking a particular focus on the muscles of the upper and front part of the trunk, including the abdominal and trunk muscles, the activity has the tendency to strengthen the muscles of the back that extend to the spine.

2. It will help tone the muscles, thereby, avoiding further back injury.
Exercising your core muscles will strengthen and tones your lower back muscles and buttocks while stretching the hip flexors and the muscles on the front of the thighs. This will also deter you from any serious lower back injury.

3. Improves physical performance. Exercising the core muscles with slow, static stretching is just as effective in relieving stiffness and enhances flexibility. Once the flexibility of a person has improved, it follows that he will be able to perform his physical activities at a better state.

4. They do not cause sore aching muscles- Static stretching for core muscles is best for the muscles and connective tissues. And because it employs slow stretches only, it will not cause any soreness, as do the quick, bouncing exercises that rely on jerky muscle contraction.

5. Lengthen muscles and avoid unbalanced footing as you get old. Core muscle exercises lengthen the muscles that have contracted as a result of pain. It also prevents pain from vigorous exercise if they are included at the end of each workout.

Some core muscle exercises include:

The plank – this provides a great warm-up that engages all the core muscles. This exercise is done my lying face down on a mat. Raise your body to site on you your elbows. Make sure you hold this position for a few minutes then lower to the floor again.A more detailed description can be found here.

Squats- this is a great exercise to build the core muscles. Simple use a dumbbell (do not over do the weight) and raise this to your chin. This simple begin to bend your knees and lower your body to the floor in a squatted position. Repeat several times. A more detailed description can be found here.

Seated Oblique twist-This exercise begins with you sitting on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor (easier) or raised up off the floor (more difficult). You will then begin to contract your abs and sit at about a 45 degrees angle. Hold a ball with both hands directly in front of you and twist slowly from your torso to your right and touch the ball to the floor beside you. Then slowly move the ball to the other side and repeat.

For more ideas on other core muscle exercises please check out here.

Health and fitness experts highly recommend starting core work out immediately and repeating the routine at least 2 times a week. The process can be done after the workout or even during the activity, for about 10 to 20 minutes only.