“If I keep my core and back strong, scoliosis doesn’t really bother me” — the words of Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt. Despite his spine problems, Bolt is a world champion. And if that isn’t a testament to the power of core strength, well… we’ve got plenty more to share with you.
A strong core doesn’t begin and end with your abdominals. Your abs are just one area of your body, whereas your core involves almost every movement you make. Abs create a solid six-pack, but core strength underpins almost every day-to-day activity. Here’s what makes a strong core so important.
Real-world benefits of a strong core
1 – A strong core is a full-body strength
Imagine your core muscles as a strong central link connecting chains to your upper and lower body. Whether you’re ducking under a washing line or ascending a climbing wall, all the movements originate or move through your core. So, even if your arms and legs are strong, a weak core can zap their potential power. If you want full-body functional fitness, core strength is fundamental.
2 – It makes everyday tasks easier
As well as progressing your fitness, core strength is called on for daily activities. Many of these are mundane actions such as picking up a parcel, sitting at your desk, or getting out of the bath – functional movements that many may not associate with core strength. Until they become difficult or painful, that is. This brings us to the next benefit…
3 – It helps prevent injuries
Harvard Medical School highlights how a weak core can lead to problems all over the body, including knee, neck, and back pain. The latter, in particular lower back pain, causes more global disability than any other condition, according to data compiled by the University of Queensland. It’s debilitating and often excruciating, but it can be prevented with physical activities that strengthen core muscles. People experiencing back pain are often prescribed a routine of personalised core exercises to relieve it – looking at you, Usain Bolt.
4 – It gives you better balance
Strong core = stable body. Those inner muscles are the ones you’ll call on when you’re meandering through a moving train carriage, or simply lifting a casserole out of the oven. A good level of core strength helps movement in all directions, even on the trickiest terrain. Ultimately, this reduces your risk of falling – so, fairly important, then!
5 – It improves your posture
While we’re grateful for modern technology, the Office Slouch is a big problem. Solid core strength stops you from developing hunched-up shoulders, making you appear taller, slimmer, and more confident. More importantly, improving your posture will create less wear and tear on your spine, again preventing injury. It also helps you exercise more efficiently and breathe more deeply, something we all need to be more conscious of in a post-pandemic world.
Our philosophy and training focuses primarily on core strength and functional fitness. And while aesthetics such as washboard abs are a desirable side-effect of training, failure to build up the rest of your core can set you up for problems in the long run. Learn more about the difference between abs and core, including more ways to build your core strength, in this helpful EVO guide. More power to your core!