Core strength has become a popular topic because it affects the function of the entire body. A strong core means better stability, fewer injuries and less physical stress.
Weak core muscles can lead to chronic back and neck pain. Signs of weak core muscles include slumping in your chair, poor posture at your desk or lack of balance.
Why Do Core Muscles Matter?
The word “core” means central and that is exactly the function of your core muscles. They are central to nearly every movement you make and the stronger they are, the easier it is to go about your work and recreation comfortably.
What are Core Muscles?
If you think core muscles are just abs, you’re partially right. Abs get the majority of attention, but the system extends beyond that and includes the lower back and glutes, too. That’s why an exercise like sit-ups, which focuses exclusively on developing the abdominal muscles, is not adequate if your goal is to build a stronger core.
How can you tell if your core is weak? If you have low back pain or balance issues there’s a good chance your core muscles are weak. One simple test is the plank test.
- Lie on the floor, propped up by your elbows.
- Raise your torso up so that your toes and elbows are the only two parts of your body touching the floor.
- Hold this as long as you can, then see how your strength measures up.
If you could last two minutes or more, your core muscles are strong. Between one and two minutes is normal, 30 seconds to a minute is moderate and less than 30 seconds is weak. If your arms or legs shook while trying to hold this pose, you have poor motor control over your core muscles.
The Good News
The good news is that you don’t have to settle for a weak core and the related problems it causes. Our medical experts are able to assess your current status and create an individualized plan of easy-to-do exercises to build up those muscles. Our physical therapists will design a program for you that will safely increase your strength, resulting is less pain and more flexibility.
After doing the self-assessment, you might be anxious to get started doing exercises to build these weak muscles, but if you do the wrong ones or push too hard, you might cause injury. There’s a way to go about it that will achieve long-lasting, positive results. Our physical therapists are trained to identify the practices for each of our patients that will work best for them.
We do this by conducting a complete analysis of your body posture, the way you move and your current level of strength so we can determine the cause of your pain. Based on that information, we put together a treatment plan tailored to your situation.
It’s all up to you. You can have the lifestyle you crave, enjoy activities you love and experience a pain-free life with the professional support and recommendations we provide.
Make an appointment with Progressive Physical Therapy today and we’ll show you how improving your core muscles can change your life for the better.