Engaging Your Core Throughout the Day (with Exercises)
One of the things I’ve noticed since COVID-19 started in March is that a lot of people are coming into my chiropractic clinic with less strength in their core muscles. I believe this weakened core is a result of a number of lifestyle changes that have occurred in the last six months. There are many benefits of engaging your core all day. This guide provides useful tips on how to improve your core stability and explains the benefits of doing so.
Lifestyle Changes Impacting Our Core Strength
With more people working from home, people aren’t moving as often and are now missing out on incidental activity which helps to keep the core muscles active. Small things like walking to the bus in the morning or walking into the city to get lunch help to keep your core engaged and active.
There was also a period of time where gyms were shut down causing disruption to people’s usual gym routine. Unfortunately, these lifestyle changes have resulted in many people losing their nice strong core stability.
What Exactly is the Core?
The core or deep core is made up of several main muscles which you can see in the image above. There is the transverse abdominals or TVA, the diaphragm, obliques, pelvic floor muscles and the multifidus which is a small group of muscles in the lumbar spine which protect your back. These muscles are different from the more superficial rectus abdominals which are the “six-pack” muscles everyone wants for the beach.
The deep core muscles create stability for your spine and work to prevent injury to your back. If any of these deep core muscles get weak or lazy due to lifestyle, injury or inactivity your body will create compensations elsewhere such as in the neck, jaw, hips and lower back. This is why engaging your core muscles and keeping them strong is so important.
The fact that our COVID lifestyles have influenced our ability to keep using these muscles correctly has meant a lot of people are now getting aches, pains and injuries linked to core weakness.
Benefits of Engaging Your Core
Being aware of your core muscles and actively engaging them daily offers many benefits to everyday life. These include:
3 Exercises You Can Do to Keep Your Core Connected Throughout the Day
My solution for patients who are suffering from core instability is to do a couple of very basic but effective exercises at least 3-4 times a week or daily if possible to keep their core connected. I highly recommend doing these exercises on days you are working from home.
With each exercise, pull your tummy button towards your spine to get a good engagement in your core and only do the exercise for as long as you are feeling your core engaging. For example, if you start feeling pain in your lower back rather than in your core, that’s a good time to stop. It’s about doing good movement and using the right muscles rather than working too hard and using the wrong muscles instead of the core.
These exercises are very effective when done consistently and will help you develop a stronger core.
Exercise 1: 90/90
This is a static exercise. Find this position and pull your tummy button towards your spine and hold it for 30 seconds. It’s harder than it looks.
Exercise 2: Deadbug
This is a progression from the 90/90. Drop the opposite leg and arm while engaging your core and do this several times on each side.
Exercise 3: Hip Bridge
This exercise will engage your multifidus and also your glutes and hamstrings. Try not to push your hips up too high causing your lower back to arch.
Get in Touch
If you would like any further help engaging your core or if you have any injuries or aches or pains that you need help with I would love to help. Feel free to get in touch with my Brisbane chiropractic clinic.