Core strength is not about having rock-hard abdominal muscles, but investing some time so your body can work better for you and reduce your risk of falls
Many muscles support your spine to give you an upright and stable posture. A good exercise plan will work the smaller muscles around the sides of your body, the laterals, your back muscles and your abdominal muscles.
With a comprehensive approach, you can improve your strength and stability and reduce your chances of back injury and back pain. Let’s get started:
The Birddog – this exercise activates your deep muscles as well as your superficial muscles.
Kneel on the floor. Put both hands on the floor directly below your shoulders. Lift one arm out straight and lift the opposite leg out behind you.
Both raised limbs should be parallel with your torso.
Hold this position for 10 seconds. Return your raised limbs to the floor then repeat 5 times. Switch and repeat for the other side.
The Deadlift – this is also called a hip hinge. You perform hip hinges hundreds of times a day, for instance whenever you sit or stand or pick up a child.
If you don’t have weights, use two bottles of water or bags of rice. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Put your weights on the floor outside your feet. Lower your spine by bending at the hip. You don’t want to curve your back.
Focus on the core muscles, pick up the weights and slowly stand up. Repeat this 5-10 times. You can start this exercise with no weights and build up.
The Farmer’s Carry – This exercise puts a load on one side of your body and forces you to adjust your movements so you stay poised and balanced. Your proprioception, awareness of where your body is in space, is tested. Your spine is also put to work.
Find an object you can hold comfortably with your hand such as a watering can or a weight. Place the object on the ground outside your leg. Pick it up then walk in a straight line to a set point, such as the length of your hallway or backyard. Turn around, switch the object to the other hand and walk back. Repeat 3-5 times depending on the length of your circuit.
These exercises are all demonstrated in videos on our Full Circle Wellness website. Getting stronger can boost your confidence and make life more fun. Enjoy.
Tristan Hall is an exercise physiologist with Full Circle Wellness. Call 0431 192 284 or visit fullcirclewellness.com.au