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Core exercises: Why you should strengthen your core muscles
You know core exercises are good for you — but do you include core exercises in your fitness routine? Here's why you should.By Mayo Clinic staff
Core exercises are an important part of a well-rounded fitness program. Aside from occasional sit-ups and push-ups, however, core exercises are often neglected. Still, it pays to get your core muscles — the muscles around your trunk and pelvis — in better shape. Read on to find out why.
Core exercises improve your balance and stability
Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony. This leads to better balance and stability, whether on the playing field or in daily activities. In fact, most sports and other physical activities depend on stable core muscles.
Core exercises don't require specialized equipment or a gym membership
Any exercise that involves the use of your abdominal and back muscles in coordinated fashion counts as a core exercise. A bridge is a classic core exercise. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Keep your back in a neutral position, not arched and not pressed into the floor. Avoid tilting your hips. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Raise your hips off the floor until your hips are aligned with your knees and shoulders. Hold the position for as long as you can without breaking your form.Next page
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- Willardson JM. Core stability training: Applications to sports conditioning programs. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2007;21:979.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 8, 2011.
- 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.health.gov/PAGUIDELINES/guidelines/default.aspx. Accessed Aug. 5, 2011.