The Core Muscle Group
You've likely heard the phrase "core muscles", but you may not know what muscles are meant when this muscle group is mentioned, or why they're so important.
But, the core muscles are very important to your body's overall health, well being and ability to stay young.
What are the Core Muscles?
Your core muscles are those that help you stay balanced, give you good posture and protect your back.
Specifically the muscles included in the core muscles group are your abdominal muscles, those in your back and those in your pelvic floor.
But, even though the abdominal muscles are included, you haven't necessarily worked your core muscles just because you have been doing a lot of crunches.
There are six major muscle groups that make up the core muscles. The abdominal muscles, including the rectus abdominus and the obliques, which are muscles many people are working, in order to get "six pack abs" are part of the core muscles.
The next major muscle group in the core muscles are the multifidus muscles. These are small stabilizer muscles in the spine. They are primarily responsible for helping you have good posture.
The erector spinae muscles are also critical to core muscle strength. These muscles are the thick, long muscles that run from the tailbone to the bottom of your skull. These muscles help keep you upright.
The hamstrings are also important to a strong core. They are located on the back of the thighs, and they work to help extend your hip and to help flex the knee.
The glutes are also important because they work with the hamstrings to help extend the hip as you walk.
Finally, the psoas muscles are also important core muscles. They run from the spine down to the inner thighbone, near the groin. They do a lot of work on a daily basis, but can become quite weak if you spend a lot of time sitting down.
The Benefits of Strengthened Core Muscles
Having strong core muscles is especially important as we get older. Your body can stay younger with a strong core.
Specifically, when your core is strong you will have:
- Better Posture
- Less lower back pain
- Better flexibility
- Better strength of movement, particularly in the legs
- Less chance of injury to your body, especially your back
The Best Exercises for the Core Muscles
To work your core, you may need to add some new exercises to your routine. Dancers and yoga enthusiasts are really the only athletes who routinely incorporate core muscle work into their exercises.
Some of the best core exercises you can perform include:
You can find directions for performing all of these core muscle exercises at many fitness sites or in fitness books. You can also simply begin taking yoga classes or Pilates classes, as both of these disciplines incorporate many core muscles exercises.
Incorporating these five exercises into your fitness routine can make you stronger and give you better posture and balance.