Your Core Source of Strength and Stability

Your Core Source of Strength and Stability
Your core is your source of strength and stability. By strengthening your core you will stand taller, and stronger muscles will make you appear leaner and more defined. The core is your fountain of youth. All movements of the body originate here. The core muscles reach around the body and include the abdominals and back muscles therefore a strong core means a strong body. Core strength is essential to maintaining balance and coordination and for eliminating and decreasing lower back pain.

Following are five very effective strengthening exercises that you can do at home. Start slowly, follow instructions, and concentrate on what you are learning. It is important to focus on your breathing while performing the exercises. You will want to engage your abdominal muscles by drawing them back toward the spine. You may want to practice the breath a few times before beginning. Moving slowly is important to remain safe and achieve maximum benefits. Try to do the exercises three times a week and be consistent. If you stick to the program you will be surprised at your improvement.

You will be working on the floor so I suggest using a yoga or pilates mat, but you can also use a folded blanket or towel to lie on. Important warning for all exercises listed: If it hurts, don’t do it.

Abdominal Curl
Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hands at your side. Take several deep breaths before you begin. The movement is simple, lift your head, and neck slowly rolling up and slide your hands down towards your knees. Exhale and come down slowly. Begin with 10 repetitions.

Reverse Crunch
Begin by lying on the floor, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and hands behind the head. Lift knees towards the chest, and then move knees away from body bringing head, neck, and shoulders up at the same time. Lower your head and draw the knees back into the chest. Continue for 10 repetitions.

Single Straight Leg Stretch
Begin by lying on your back, knees bent, and hands behind the head. Take both legs straight up in the air. Lift your head, neck and shoulders. Bend the knee of one leg and draw it into the body while extending the other leg straight at a 60 degree angle. Now draw the other knee in and straighten the opposite leg. Continue this movement slowly changing sides with opposite knee and leg while keeping the head, neck and shoulders lifted. Repeat for 10 repetitions on each leg.

Back Extension
Laying flat on your stomach stretch your body out long. Put your hands behind your head. Inhale and lift your head with your face towards the ground. Hold one breath then lower. You will not be able to lift your head very high. You are using your back muscles to lift and lower the head. Continue for 6 repetitions and then stretch your body out long reaching from fingers through toes.

Arm and Leg Balance
Begin on the floor on your hands and knees. Draw your left knee in towards your chest and drop your head towards the knee. Then lift your face forward and take left leg up and out straight behind you. The left leg is lifted, not touching the floor. At the same time lift your right arm and reach forward in front. Hold for 5 breaths then bring knee and arm down. Repeat on other side. This is a balance pose and you are using your core muscles to keep your balance. You may have to practice this pose a few times. The goal is to stay in place without tipping over as you engage your core muscles. Do the exercise 3 times on both sides.

These exercises may be challenging at first but keep going. The more you do them the easier they will become. Have fun with these exercises and don’t push yourself too hard.

Always check with a medical professional before starting any new exercises.

Be healthy, Be happy!

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This content was written by Terri Lindy Johansen. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Terri Johansen for details.