The core of an apple is not the most delicious part, but it is definitely an essential structure of the fruit. It keeps the skin and meat of that yummy apple that you’re biting into together and whole. The same could be said about your body’s core. The bones of the spine provide the supporting frame for the back much like the core of the apple. Connected to this frame is an intricate system of muscles and ligaments that increase the strength and stability of the spine, arms and legs. Like the apple core, the human core that is composed of the spine and these muscles, keeps our bodies together, as a whole.
More on the Core
The key muscles that maintain body stability are the rectus abdominis muscles located at the front of your abdomen as well as the internal and external obliques that are layered one on top of the other in the front and side of the abdomen. The transversus abdominis muscles are also an important aspect of the core. As the name suggests, these muscles run horizontally across your lower abdomen. Strengthening all of these muscles reduces the strain placed on your back and helps relieve or prevent back pain. A strong core also helps your balance, which prevents falls and enables you to exercise and conduct daily activities such as lifting a heavy box to going up stairs.
When the center of your body, your core, is strong, you are able to move more as a unit with more efficiency, less pain, and increased fluidity.
Here are some ways that your daily life can be positively affected by an increased awareness and strength of your core and its adjoining muscles:
- Reduced likelihood of back pain episodes
- Reduced severity of back pain
- Protection against injury by responding better to stresses
- Assistance in avoiding back surgery in some cases
- Facilitated healing from a back problem/surgery
- Improvement in posture
Exercising Can Help!
Not only does awareness of the core and its muscles help to alleviate back pain and potential injury but exercising and moving the body can also help with maintaining mobility. Different exercises can focus on different areas of the spine and the back. Physical Therapy, as we have seen with other pains along the spine, can address what areas you need to focus on when creating an exercise program. Physical therapists will look at the muscles that your core and trunk are comprised of and note where the structure of your spine and core can be reinforced through stretches and strengthening exercises. Now, the next time you are gazing at the Granny Smith apples at the grocery store, take note of your core, your center. It is the key to living a life of increased movement fluidity and decreased pain.
Contact us here if you need help improving your core strength!