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3 Reasons Why Strengthening Your Core Will Help With Your Physical Therapy

3 Reasons Why Strengthening Your Core Will Help With Your Physical Therapy

What exactly is your core? If you guessed the abdominal muscles, you’re only partly right. Many people wrongly assume core exercises are to get that coveted six pack. While having a six pack may look nice, it doesn’t guarantee a strong, stable core. That’s because the core is made up of more than just abs, it includes the chest, diaphragm, hips, spine, back muscles, glutes, and pelvic floor. Basically, take out your arms and legs, and it encompasses everything in your torso. It is the grand central station of motion and function in your body. Let’s talk about some reasons why you should strengthen your core, and how that fits in with your physical therapy.

3 Reasons to Strengthen Your Core

Who needs a strong core? Are you an athlete? A stay at home mom? Do you have an office job? Are you a living human being? Ideally, everyone should have a strong core because every movement from sitting, bending, walking, lifting, turning, etc. all depend on movement and stability from the core. The three major reasons for having a strong core are to:

  • Maintain Spine Stability

    • The spine is a dynamic structure and a stable spine is crucial for bearing loads, movement, and to prevent injury or falls.
  • Improve posture and balance

    • Good posture can prevent slouching and back pain. Having good balance not only prevents falls but maximizes other body movements.
  • Prevent Injuries

    • A strong core prevents injuries related to the back such as sprains or strains, muscle or joint injuries, and falls.

How to Strengthen Your Core

Thankfully, strengthening your core doesn’t require loads of equipment or a lot of time. It can be done just about anywhere and even just a few minutes a day can make a difference in your core strength. Listed below are some favorite core go-to exercises:

  • Plank

    • Begin with body in a push-up position, arms straight and beneath shoulders, straight back with belly button tucked in, legs straight with feet flexed and toes touching the floor. Head should be in a neutral position, and your body should be a straight line from the head down to your toes. Remember to breathe.
    • This exercise will engage your abdominals, back muscles, glutes, shoulders and arms. Try to hold this position for at least 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times or as tolerated.
  • Bridge

    • Lay on your back with your knees bent and facing the ceiling.
    • Tighten your buttocks and raise your hips upward as far as you’re comfortable. Aim for aligning your hips with your knees and shoulders. Hold for 2-3 seconds.
    • Lower back down to starting position.
    • Repeat 5 times.
  • Pilates 100

    • Start by laying down on your back with knees bent.
    • Stretch legs out straight in front and raise to a 45 degree angle.
    • Lift your head and raise your arms to hip/thigh level.
    • Pump your arms quickly up and down for a count of 100.
    • If you find the 45 degree angle too difficult, you can modify by bending your knees and elevating your feet off the ground instead.
  • The Roll Up

    • Lay on your back with your arms stretched over your head and your legs/feet straight out in front of you.
    • Bring your hands up over your head and follow through with your head and torso into a sitting position. Tuck in your belly button and dive over toward your feet.
    • Slowly roll back in a controlled way, vertebrae by vertebrae, to the starting position. Repeat 5 times.

Physical Therapy and a Strong Core 

Whatever your reason for having physical therapy, be it your back or shoulders, or any other injury, having a strong core will assist in your healing and rehabilitation. A strong core can be compared to a solid foundation for a house. When the foundation is strong, you can build up from there. A strong core provides a sturdy foundation that ensures a balanced body and all other movements can be maximized from there. Expect your physical therapist to include core strengthening exercises into your regimen, and if they haven’t, request some that are suitable to you and your injury. Within a few weeks after doing core strengthening exercises, you should be standing taller, and while no six pack may be there, confidence should be.

Conclusion

Having a strong core should be on everyone’s to-do list. Better balance and posture, less pain, and less chance of injuries; it’s a key area physical therapists aim to strengthen. Give us a call at Blue Hill Sports and Spine Rehabilitation, and our team can help you with an individualized plan!

 

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