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Core strength training is vital for fitness

Weak core muscles have been linked to posture problems and back pain (Photo: iStock)

A lean body in good shape and health is what many desire; and a flat tummy of course. Core muscles help you to stabilise, walk and maintain good posture. Weak core muscles have been linked to posture problems and back pain. Most people do not have a firm grasp of core muscles. Abs and the core are used synonymously by some.

However, abs are just one side of the core muscles. Having a flat tummy does not equate to core strength. Core muscles comprise the abs on the front, the gluteus and lower back, the diaphragm area, hip muscles and the pelvic floor. Fitness experts advise that core strength training is essential for overall fitness.

A strong core is paramount for other muscles to be challenged on a stable platform during a workout. They act like some form of 'muscular corset' that allows you to balance in doing pretty much any activity. A strong core allows you to easily find stability when you are caught off balance in movement.

Going into pregnancy with a fit core has been linked to easier labour and a shorter recovery after delivery. Lifting strengths for stronger arms on a weak core will lead to a lack of strength to perform lifts correctly. This will contribute to bad workout habits of compensating for a weak core.

When performing exercises that involve a large range of motion, a neglected core could increase the risk of injury. Since they train the muscles in the lower back, pelvis, abdomen and hips to work in harmony, core exercises lead to better torso balance when going about daily activities.

A strong core makes it easy for one to be more agile. Bending to tie your shoes, going up and down the stairs, and turning to look back are just a few things that rely on a strong core and may go unnoticed until they become difficult to do.

Weak core muscles contribute significantly to poor posture, muscle injuries and lower back pain. You will not reap the full benefits of other exercises when your full range of motion is compromised by a weak core. Studies show that well-balanced core muscles will give you a healthier back.

The core is where the most vital body systems are located. Having a strong core ensures that these critical systems are protected. Most of the body’s busy work happens in the core. The core muscles also offer support to the spinal cord. A weak core will pressure your spine, and lead to pain.

A strong core can improve respiratory function. As core exercises teach the muscles to work together more efficiently and effectively, they expand lung capacity for optimum respiration.

The bottom line, your core is your entire support system. Since core muscles play a huge role in your day-to-day activities, you need to build substantial core strength before you can pack muscles anywhere else.