Why You Should Actively Engage Your Core
Core strength is an often overlooked, but very important aspect of everyday movements and functions. It’s what keeps our bodies upright when we sit and stand. When a person doesn’t actively engage the core to sit up straight, it leads to hunching, causing shoulder, neck, and back pain. Lazy core muscles are easy to come by, especially since sitting is so relaxing and comfortable. However, if the core isn’t engaged and sucked in during that 9 to 5 job, it’s more than likely that you may also suffer the dreaded lower belly pooch. So beyond functional reasons, a strong core is great for overall health reasons.
Let’s Take a Look at a Few Great Ways to Strengthen Your Core:
Planks. You can do planks from either your elbows or with your arms fully extended (as in a pushup position). The back should be straight, making sure that your hips are not sticking up or sinking too low.
Flutter Kicks. Lay on the floor with your hands under your hips. Keep your back flat on the floor and raise your legs 6 inches above the ground. Alternately lift one leg above the other in a fluttering motion as if swimming. Actively engage your core while performing this movement – you should feel it in your lower abs.
Standing Alternate Knee to Elbow Crunches. The movement is just as it sounds. Stand up straight with your hands behind your head, elbows pointing out. Alternately bring your left knee up to a 90 degree position and meet it with your right elbow to do a crunch. Repeat on the other side.
These are some of our favorite ab exercises, but there are many others, (including ab exercises from your chair!) so find what feels right for you and what allows you to see the best results.
Try a Sit/Stand Desk for a Stronger Core.
It can be easier to engage the core muscles when standing because there isn’t as much temptation to completely relax the stomach muscles and let the belly hang over the pants. There are many other benefits in using a Sit/Stand Desk, such as lowering the risk for obesity and other metabolic disorders, improved productivity, decreased back pain, and more. Try to change between sitting and standing every hour to get the most out of your Sit/Stand Desk.
Engaging the core muscles at work and beyond can also have psychological benefits. Sitting up straighter helps individuals feel more confident, and it also appears to others they have more confidence as well.
Try the simple act of engaging your core muscles today and let us know how it impacts your day-to-day activities.