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5 Benefits to a Strong Core

Everyone thinks of a strong core as a six pack of abdominal muscles or “abs. ” Actually, your core muscles consist of a lot more than just the muscles in the front of your body. Your core muscles consist of the muscles in the front of your abdomen but also wrap around your sides and connect to your back. Maintaining a strong core can have so many benefits!

1. Injury Prevention- having a strong core will help in preventing injuries. When we lift or carry objects we need to have a strong core. We often think of our arms and legs doing all of the work during an activity. In reality, most of the work and stability comes from our core. Maintaining a strong core will ensure that whatever activity you are doing starts with a strong base and helps to prevent injuries.

2. Reduce back pain- strong abdominal muscles will help to support the spine and your back helping to reduce back pain. Your core muscles that wrap around your back and can help support your spine and help you maintain a tall posture.

3. Improve balance and stability- With a strong core and back it helps support your entire body so when you are moving and challenging your balance, you can better compensate and maintain your balance.

4. Improve Posture- Strong core and back muscles help promote a tall and upright posture. Standing tall and sitting tall also help open up the chest and diaphragm to help you breathe better too!

5. Improved overall performance- Having control over your core muscles will help you in everyday life. Whether it's carrying laundry up the stairs or exercising, a strong core gives you a foundation that will help you support all of your other muscles so that they don’t have to compensate and get tired from over working.

Here are 9 exercises that you can do from a chair to help strengthen your core:

1.Core Activation: Sit in a chair with upright posture. Tighten all of your abdominal muscles by bringing your belly button to your spine. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat

2. Side Bends: Start with your left forearm resting on your left thigh. WIth your right arm side bend to the right side reaching towards the ground. Make sure to engage your core and tighten those muscles as you are bending down. Repeat 10 times to each side.

3. Reverse curls: Scoot to the edge of your chair. After engaging your core, slowly lean back as far as you can. The further you go back, the harder it will be. Then come back up to sitting tall. Repeat 10 times.

4. W Abdominal Curl: Place your hands above your head in a “W” formation. Use your core muscles to lean forward, bending over. Then sit up tall. Repeat 10 times.

5.Leg lift: Engage your core and slowly bring your knee up in a marching motion. Alternate legs. Repeat 10 times each side.

6. Heel to toe: Sit up tall. Lift both of your legs at the same time bringing them forward so your heels touch the ground. Then lift your legs and bring them under your chair and touch your toes to the ground. Repeat 10 times.

7. Bicycle ride: Sit tall: Lift both legs up and start pedaling like you are riding a bicycle. Do this for 10 seconds at a time. Repeat.

8. Elbow side bend back stretch: Bring both of your arms above your head in a “W” position. Bed to the side as if you are bringing your elbow to the ground. Alternate sides back and forth working the side of your body. Repeat 10 times each side.

9. Down and up: Slowly bend at your waist reaching down to the ground, sit up tall. Repeat 10 times.

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