If you’re like most of us, then you’ve looked at your midsection in the mirror at least once before and dreamed about a glistening six-pack.
However, did you know that there are many important health and life benefits that come from a stronger core beyond simply looking good?
Read on to learn about five is the not-so-obvious improvements a strong core can bring to help you stay motivated during your next gym visit.
Even though your equilibrium is actually controlled by your inner ear, your balance and stability are significantly influenced by your core strength. This is because your core helps you maintain control of your body during movement.
One way you might notice this is walking on slippery sidewalk during the rain. A strong core helps keeps you from falling or slipping when your feet start to slide. You will also see improvement during various other exercises and activities, from distance running to yoga and soccer.
It might not seem like it, but your core strength has a huge impact on your breathing by way of your diaphragm. This is the primary muscle responsible for your ability to inhale and exhale, and it is located right in the center of your core.
When you strengthen your core, you strengthen your diaphragm and thus increase your ability to breathe easily. A stronger diaphragm can help you take deeper breaths as well as sustain a faster rate of breathing for a longer period of time. This ensures you intake enough oxygen during physical activity.
Your posture plays a major role in the condition of your body, as poor posture can result in pain or injury when you attempt different actions. Standing up straight while sitting, walking, or moving requires a strong core in order to keep your spine from bending unintentionally. From hunching your back while you sit at your desk to keeping your body straight while you jump, good posture is always important.
If you can stand up straighter, you can see improvements such as being able to eliminate wrist and neck pain while typing to burning more calories during a workout because you are able to better execute each move.
No more back pain
Chronic lower back pain can result from a variety of circumstances, and a strong core is capable of relieving pain for most of them. By improving the performance of the muscles in the back and hips, you improve your ability to stand up straight as well as perform tasks that require heavy lifting, crouching or bending over.
In turn, this helps relieve pain that comes from contorting the spine in unnatural ways for extended periods of time, overexerting the back, or sitting the wrong way at work. As your body becomes more capable of movement and exertion during these activities, you become more aware of your positioning and are thus able to make adjustments to keep your body in the right alignment and eliminate pain.
Virtually every sport and physical activity relies on the core in some capacity, which means that improving your core strength can translate into major changes in your performance. For example, a stronger core can help you keep your body straight while swimming and thus allow you to stay on target and increase your speed.
Another benefit of strong core muscles is that you can better utilize your other muscles, such as being able to throw a ball farther. This is because you can better leverage your upper body to create more force behind the throw, while also keeping your body level to make sure the ball flies in the intended direction.