I’ve enjoyed being fit and athletic for much of my life because it helps me feel healthy inside and out. There’s also something intrinsically rewarding about having strong and limber muscles that allow me to do so many of the activities I enjoy, as well as the ones I don’t love all that much— like housework!
Being able to move comfortably and confidently is something that many of us take for granted, and we often don’t think much about it until something happens that really gets our attention. Aside from the occasional pulled muscle, overdoing it on a workout, or other short-term aches and pains, most people can bounce back pretty quickly, especially when youth is on their side.
Bouncing Back After Being Sidelined
All of us eventually grow a little older and our bodies naturally become less pliable, but fortunately, we can find strategies that help us adapt to the changes so we can carry on. I learned this quickly after I had a hysterectomy a few years ago. Once I got through the recovery period, I could hardly wait to get back to my regular workout schedule, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much of a toll the surgery would take on the muscles in my core.
The Importance of a Strong Core
People often think of their core as being synonymous with their abs—but it’s much more than that. Your core is actually comprised of about 30 muscle groups that connect from the spine and hips to the pelvis. Exercise aside, your core is involved in almost every movement you do, whether it’s reaching for an item in your closet, getting in or out of your car, or putting on a pair of boots. Your core allows you to bend, twist, and move about the way you want to and do so without hurting yourself.
A strong core helps the muscles in your abs, lower back, and pelvis work better together and is critical for good posture, balance, physical stability, and more. Because this is such an important aspect of, not only your physical fitness, but also just being able to move without a lot of pain or repeated injury, I encourage you to start working on your core.
My 5 Favorite Core Exercises
For 2022, I committed to being more disciplined about strengthening my core and I find these exercises to be really helpful for my goal:
- Dead bug
- Hip thrusts
- Chair plank—if you’re new to planks, start with a basic one
- Superman—if lying on the floor is uncomfortable, you can do a modified version in a chair
While there are lots of tutorials for these online, I recommend working with a personal trainer (if you can) to help you learn how to do the movements correctly and to avoid the risk of injuring yourself. Also, if you’ve been a bit of a couch potato, please check with your doctor before starting any workout plan—just to be safe.
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just getting started with exercise, improving the strength of your core muscles is a great step for making your body fitter, stronger, and more resilient to setbacks. And when your body is strong, it also boosts your self-esteem and confidence. I like to think of it as a win-win!
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