When people are asked what part of their body they’d like to get into shape, most people will mention their core. It’s the foundation of our body. The best way to trim any excess weight is by strengthening the core. However, a strong core does more than just help with weight management! It improves balance, posture, reduces aches and pains such as the back, and will protect from future injury.
Building your core muscles will have big impacts and long-lasting effects. If you aren’t already working on them, now is the time to start! In this article we’re going to discuss the benefits of a stronger core, particularly for seniors, as well as a video to follow along with a seated core workout by Senior Fitness expert, Meredith Chen.
What is the Core?
The core is made up of several muscle groups:
- Rectus Abdominis: Also known as the abdominals, is a paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the abdomen.
- Internal and External Obliques: In the front and side of the abdomen. These are responsible for flexing the spine, lateral side bend the spine, and rotation of the spine.
- Transversus Abdominis: Muscles that run horizontally across the lower abdomen.
- Erector Spinae: A group of muscles and tendons which run the length of the spine on the left and right, from the sacrum and hips to the base of the skull.
- Psoas and Quadratus Lumborum Muscles: Located in the pelvis, the psoas is responsible for spinal flexion, hip flexion and unilateral side bending of the torso. The quadratus lumborum (QL) is located in the lower back on either side of the lumbar spine and is the deepest abdominal muscle. It starts at the lowest rib and ends at the top of the pelvis.
- According to some, the muscles around the scapulae (shoulder blades) and the gluteus muscles in the hips and buttocks are also a part of the core.
As you can see, they all work together to connect the body. These muscles are all essential to having good balance and stability, and to prevent falls and injuries that can occur. They stabilize the body and help with movement and agility. They allow you to walk or stand still with good balance and proper posture.