Thursday, June 2, 2011
The Importance of the Body's Core
As personal trainers we emphasis the importance & promote exercises to build a strong core for spine and low back protection.
The trunk and low torso is the power centre of the body, which comprises over 50% of the body's total mass. Essential for maintaining the body's equilibrium and posture are the muscles of the lower torso and inner abdominals, an area commonly referred to by many personal trainers and myself as 'the body's core'. This core provides supportive pressure to maintain necessary stability with minimal stress on the lower back. As personal trainers we emphasis the importance and promote exercises to assist in building a strong core for spine and low back protection.
Dealing with the public every day I've found that 80% of the people who walk through the doors are lacking in postural strength and core stability, affecting their body's functioning and in turn inhibiting their work, fitness and health. As a standard practice within my training, my initial step is to visually assess the clients posture. Having done this we can commence the appropriate corrective exercises.
There are many different causes of back pain through poor posture and they need to be identified and fixed appropriately.
Some of these causes are due to:
1. Tight muscles in the back of the leg (hamstring).
Solution: Tight hamstrings can be corrected through stretching and lengthening the hamstring muscles.
2. Tight hip flexors (muscles that assist with bending at the hips).
Solution: To correct and lengthen the hip flexors, these muscles need to be stretched.
3. Excess weight around the stomach area pulls the upper torso forward and applies pressure and fatigue, weakening the lower back.
Solution: To correct this a well balanced diet and an exercise program is required to help reduce weight.
Some strengthening exercises that will help strengthen the lower back include:
* Prone hold
* Dead lifts
* Fit ball roll in and outs
(All these exercises are performed under trainer supervision).
4. In most cases tight chest muscles and overworked front shoulders lead to rounding forward of the shoulders. This often causes a weakening of the shoulder blade muscles, a hunch in the upper back section and a weakening in the lower back area.
Solution: To correct this defect in posture, the chest muscles must be stretched and exercises must be given to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder blade area (scapula). Additional exercises must also be given to strengthen the inner abdominal and lower back area.
Everyday we place our spine and lower back under unnecessary stress, through poor posture while standing, sitting, bending and lifting. Here are some pointers to help maintain correct posture and reduce stress on the lower back during daily activities:
1. When sitting or standing, maintain good posture by keeping the back straight and upright, stomach tight, chest out, shoulders pinned back and chin up.
Continuously regaining posture helps exercise and strengthens the core postural muscles. Placing red dots (stickers) on computers or desks at work, the car rear view mirror and on the fridge at home is one method I find effective for reminding individuals to regain awareness of correct posture.
2. Constantly sitting and standing in one position for an extended period of time decreases good posture due to the fatiguing muscles of the core. This inturn applies stress to the lower back and spine. An ideal way of reducing this type of stress and fatigue is through movement.
After 15-20 minutes of sitting at a desk or in a car, it is a good idea to break free from this tiresome position and walk around for a minute or two, giving the body a light stretch.
By keeping your posture and core strong you are on your way to achieving a stronger and healthier body, minimising any stress and discomfort from back pain.
Source: Paul Marasco - Personal Trainer