Often when referring to the "core" we point to or emphasize the front side of the body - specifically the rectus abdominus aka the "6-pack" aka the abs. And when we visualize this area we envision visible, rippling muscles glistening with droplets of sweat. It's typically what we see on the way out of the grocery store on the covers of popular health and fitness magazines complete with instructions on how to achieve this oft sought after look in only 8 minutes a day or something like that. What we're being sold has absolutely nothing to do with what the "core" actually does and why it's important to have a strong, functioning one.
What we should want and require of our core is protection and function. It's ability to protect our spine, keep us stable, and produce efficient movement are what we should be after. Core weakness and/or poor control can reduce your ability to perform both simple and complex movements.
Why it's important...
1. Injury prevention
Having a healthy core can keep you in the gym, at work, involved in your hobbies and other activities that you enjoy and out of the doctors office where billions of dollars are spent annually treating low back pain and low back injuries.
2. Promotes better posture
Good posture is more than just standing or sitting up straight like your mother always you reminded you to do. Good posture helps reduce stress on the spine, in the neck and shoulders, and improves your ability to breathe properly.
3. Improve movement efficiency
When your core is strong and healthy your ability to move well is enhanced. Your coordination is improved and you don't waste energy.
4. Improve ability to produce force
The ability to protect the spine aids in the production of force when doing things like throwing a baseball or pushing open a heavy door. A weak core will leak energy and you'll wind up overusing the wrong muscles which could lead to injury.
5. Improve ability to reduce/absorb force
Think catching an object or controlling a fall or an object like dumbbell, kettlebell or a sandbag.
6. Improve balance
A strong, healthy core helps you control your center of gravity which is constantly changing.
Theses are just a few of the reasons to build and maintain your core all the way around. At JP's Fitness Solutions core training is part of all of our individualized training programs.