DR. SCOTT COOK: Body benefits from core training
July 23, 2013 10:50 AM

Core training is a no-longer-new catchphrase on the fitness landscape. The concept of core fitness, by now, has been promoted by every Pilates center, yoga center and chain fitness clubs around the world.

Many doctors, including chiropractors, orthopedists and even cardiologists, emphasize the importance of core training with their patients.

• What exactly is the “core” and what are you training when you train it?

Your core muscles are your four abdominal muscle groups — the transversus abdominis, internal and external obliques, and rectus abdominis.

Back muscles, too, are included in the core group — specifically the erector spinae, longissimus thoracis and multifidus.

The importance of the core muscles is their ability to provide a “center” or focus for the physical work your body is doing.

If your core is not fit, other muscles will have to take over, leading to the likelihood of strains, sprains and other injuries.

• Why do we need core fitness today?

More and more our work involves sitting down. We stare at computer screens for eight hours a day. Instead of doing physical work such as farming or building, we type on a keyboard and talk on a cellphone.

The long-term result is that muscles, tendons and ligaments lose their integrity.

Tight neck muscles, tight lower back muscles and weak abdominal muscles are the result, and these issues lead to more serious problems such as chronic headaches, cardiovascular stress, impaired digestion and depression.

We need fitness activities that start building us back up again, and the right place to start is at the center — by engaging in core fitness.

At our office, we have a core fitness program that we show to our patients, which strengthens and stabilizes the spine and core of your body.

The best thing about core fitness is that you need little to no equipment. You could get a mat and an exercise ball, but those items are optional.

Take a yoga class. Take a Pilates class.

Learn a few core exercises and begin to do them three times a week.

You’ll soon begin to notice that you feel better, in general. You have more energy.

You’re sleeping better. Your mood is improving, and it’s all due to a few squats, a few planks and a few pushups. That’s a pretty good deal.

When you exercise, it’s important for your muscles and joints to move freely. If you’re exercising and you have joints with restricted motions, particularly in the spine, it’s easy to get injured. This is analogous to pressing down on the accelerator with one foot while applying the brake with the other. That would be a pretty bumpy ride.

Chiropractic care will take the bumps out of your ride and will help you get the most out of your exercise.

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