7 reasons why core strength is important for us
People usually tend to believe that core strength is something for body builders or top athletes only. Nothing can be more far from reality. Core muscles are used in almost any movement, they act as a connector between upper and lower body muscles. Strong core muscles make daily life easier, enable those of us sitting a lot (in the office, in meetings, in cars, planes, trains…) good body posture and mitigate negative effects of prolong sitting. There are many more benefits, so let’s have a look at them more closely.
- Healthy body posture: together with body flexibility, strong core helps you maintain a good body posture throughout any challenging day. If you can keep your spine naturally curved at least most of the time, a risk of lower back pain is definitely reduced.
- Improved daily life: with strong core, any task in daily life become easier. Reaching out for something high on the shelf, picking-up kids and lifting them up after you come back from work, loading a crate of your company product samples into the car. Almost any activity becomes more fluid.
- Mitigate negative effects of sitting: I read somewhere that ‘sitting is new smoking’. Well, maybe that’s a bit stretched, nevertheless there is mounting evidence that prolong sitting, especially with your lower back curved in the direction opposite to the natural lumbar spine curve, is not healthy at all. Bad posture while sitting might and very often does cause lower back pain. Strong core, muscles around your belly and spine, enable maintaining healthy sitting position throughout your day. It is worth searching the web on what actually is a good way to sit. You can read more in my earlier article focused on sitting or watch a video with the ‘proper sitting guide’.
- Lower risk of injuries: ability to keep your core muscles engaged in every challenging body movement (remember that loading something into the back of your car…) will significantly reduce risk of potential lower back injuries.
- Strong core, strong mind: I am not sure whether there are any medical studies (there are probably studies on anything now…), but would still argue that strong core and overall body fitness contribute to high level of the energy and hence improve our mindset, ability to fight stress, solve challenging situations with grace.
- Better sport performance: any sport you choose, any sport you like – with strong core you will be able to perform better. Golf, motorbike, tennis, surfing, paddle boarding…you name it. Strong core muscles provide great base for endurance as well as body stability during any sport you enjoy doing.
- Look good: last but not least! With a group of friends we just recently discussed unconditional bias and its effects on our society. More about this topic at workplace another time, however research clearly shows that good looking people have more chances to get better jobs, better evaluation. I know, not fair! But reality. Choice is yours: beer belly or six-pack?
How to build strong core? There are many options: yoga, pilates, various core strength exercise programs, some HIIT routines. In my experience, for fast-pace living & traveling leaders there is nothing better than to have your own set of exercises that can be done in 10 minutes anywhere, anytime, just using own body. A video with the focused, 5-mins ExFitt exercise core sequence is here for your inspiration.
Of course, there are some more skills and competencies to become a successful leader 😉 however strong core muscles might contribute to your leadership career. And if not, then for sure to your health and well-being.
How do you work on your core strength? What do you do to include right amount of fitness into your busy life? What benefits you have found in regularly exercising and building your core? Let me know in comments to share your experience as well as inspire other readers.
Have a great day!
This article was first published at the LinkedIn Pulse in February 2018. Here is the updated version.