When doing any kind of exercise and even at times when you are not doing any exercise you will notice your core of your body. Your core is the muscles right around your torso, that is the muscles of your abdominals right around your lower back and everything in between.The muscles of the core of your body give you the ability to stand upright, to bend over, to pick things up, to lean and also for you to turn around. Think of all the times during the day that you use these core muscles and you will realize that this is indeed a very important part of your muscle to keep strong.
Low back pain is very common. It affects 4 of 5 people at some time during their lives. It is the leading cause of disability for those aged 19 to 45 and is the second most common cause of missed work days (after the common cold) for adults younger than 45. Low back pain becomes more common as people age.
On the flip side of a strong core is a weak set of core muscles. If you have any back problems you may be dealing with weak core muscles (I am a little sensitive to this as my wife has a bad back and a stronger core has not helped) and strengthening these core muscles will give you less pain and a lot more agility.
Strengthening your abdominals
To strengthen your core lets look at the muscle a bit separately. To start in the front you can strengthen your abdominal muscles by doing crunches or situps as well as lying down on your back and doing some kind of leg lifts. For these abdominal exercises do them for about 20-30 reps for three sets. A related set of muscles are on your sides called the obliques. You can strengthen your oblique muscles by standing straight up with your hands on your head and then leaning over to one side, coming back up straight and then leaning to the other side. do about 15 reps on each side for three sets.
Strengthening your lower back
To strengthen your lower back you will want to do the same exercise as your obliques except bringing your body forward and then back straight up. Do not go too far as you do not want to overextend these muscles. Another great exercise is the pelvic tilt. Do do a pelvic tilt lie on your back with your legs bent and just push your pelvis straight up.
Pilates has become really popular over the last few years and if you have seen one of those Windsor pilates commercials you will notice how much they focus on core muscle training where traditional cardio always seems to focus on your arms and legs.
You should do all of these core training workouts as one workout three days a week. The important thing to really remember is that if you have a strong midsection to your body you will have better strength and flexibility throughout your body and this will help you throughout your day.
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