The Importance of Core Fitness
|Chiropractic and the Core
Chiropractic care helps improve almost everything from a physical point of view. Chiropractic treatment helps your body become the best it can be, by removing limitations to growth and development.
When you exercise, it's critical for your joints and musculature to be freely movable. If you're exercising and you have joints with reduced mobility, particularly in the spine, it's easy to get injured. This is analogous to pressing down on the accelerator with one foot while applying the brake with the other. That would be a unpleasant and frustrating ride. Extending the metaphor, chiropractic care helps open up your spinal highways and byways, smoothing out your biomechanical journey so you can get the greatest benefit from your exercise.
When you're exercising your core it's very important for all the parts involved to have their maximum range of motion. Chiropractic care helps you get there.
Core fitness used to be the new, trendy concept in fitness, being promoted by exercise, yoga and Pilates instructors. But now, many physicians, including chiropractors, orthopedists, physiatrists and medical doctors, appreciate the importance of a strong core. Most personal trainers and physical therapists have a repertoire of core exercises that they use with their clients. Core fitness is now a marketing buzzword helping to sell a myriad of products to the fitness-seeking consumer. This has increased the general public's awareness of the importance of a strong core and provides a greater opportunity to participate in this healthy form of exercise.
You may know you have one, but what precisely is your "core" and what are you accomplishing when you train it? First of all, your core includes the abdominal muscle groups - the external obliques, internal obliques, rectus abdominis and transversus abdominis; and a group of back muscles - the longissimus thoracis, multifidus, and erector spinae. Secondly, the reason why having a strong core is so important is because these muscle groups provide a focus or "center" supporting whatever physical work your body is doing. If you have a weak core, other muscles will have to take over, which significantly increases the likelihood of sprains, strains and other injuries.
Years ago, before core fitness became part of the lexicon, there were still plenty of people who had an intuitive understanding of the concept. For many decades gymnastic coaches, ballet instructors, and football coaches utilized strenuous and vigorous techniques that focused on increasing core strength. Middle school and high school gym teachers knew about the core, even back then. Remember push-ups, squat thrusts and jumping jacks? All those traditional exercises (that we used to moan and groan about) worked to train our deep core muscles. We were doing core fitness before there was a "core fitness".
You may be wondering why we even need core fitness today since so much of our daily work involves sitting down. So many of us stare at computer screens for eight or more hours a day rather than performing the physical work our ancestors did, such as farming or building. Instead we use a mouse and keyboard and chat on a phone. The long-term result of this more sedentary lifestyle is that muscles, ligaments and tendons lose their integrity. This leads to tight, spastic muscles in the neck and lower back, and weak abdominal muscles, and these issues lead to more serious problems such as chronic headaches, cardiovascular stress, digestive problems, and even depression. We need fitness activities that help to build up our bodies' strength and integrity again, and the best place to start is at the center - by participating in core fitness.
The wonderful thing about core fitness is that there is no equipment required. Of course you could get a mat and a physioball, but those items are not necessary to work your core. Try taking a Pilates or yoga class in your community. Some studios even offer a chance to try a free class to see if you like it. Learn a few core exercises and begin to do them regularly several times a week. You'll soon begin to notice that you have more energy, sleep better and just generally feel better overall. You may even notice that your mood has improved. All due to a few planks, push-ups and squats. That's not a bad deal.