What picture comes to mind when you think of core strength? Is it the signature “6-pack” you see splashed across the latest fitness magazine or commercials? Core strength is more than just the pretty “washboard abs”. It is the strength necessary to stabilize the trunk of the body.
Why is stabilizing the trunk of the body so important? Because an imbalanced core can and does show itself up and down the body. The core consists of the abdominals, as well as the muscles of the back and the pelvic floor. Poor core strength affects virtually all joints (shoulders, hips, knees, etc.) because when the core is not doing its share of the work, the joints and surrounding muscles have to work twice as hard, leading to wear and tear issues in those joints. Knee, shoulder, and hip replacements are commonplace these days.
There is still very little education out there about how important having a strong core (and therefore proper posture) is to maintaining joint health into middle and old age. Most people don’t know just how important it is until they are in a physical therapist’s office doing rehab. There is almost always some core strengthening involved in rehab.
The ability to stabilize the core also becomes more important as we age because proper strength in the core alleviates many issues that older populations face; namely issues of balance. Poor core strength leads to more falls. A hunched forward posture means the person may not be able to see an obstacle in their path. It can also lead to shuffling, which can lead to tripping and falling.
The third reason core strength is important is for all issues relating to the pelvic floor; bladder and bowel incontinence, as well as organ prolapse and sexual dysfunction are the four biggies. For more information on this, please look for my next article which delves a little deeper into the why the pelvic floor is so connected to core strength. You can find more information on how to strengthen the core by calling me at 502-321-0557.