Core muscles support your spine. Try these 4 core strengthening exercises at home to improve your balance and prevent back pain.
The core is essentially made up of three groups of muscles — the abs, the side muscles (obliques) and a deep layer of muscles which help to support your spine. Developing core strength helps you with your balance, prevents back pain and also helps you to perform better in sports and other activities.
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There are many ways to embark on a Pilates, yoga or Yogalates — from following instructional videos online at home to joining a class at either your community centre or a private fitness studio.
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Even with an increasing number of affordable classes available today, there are times when you simply prefer to do your core workout in the comfort of your own home. All you need is an exercise mat to get started.
While seated on your mat, extend your legs fully straight out in front and lean backwards keeping spine neutral (tip: do not round your back). Next, with your legs extended, start to bend your legs, bringing your knees towards your chest. With your knees bent, hold the position for a second or two, then extend your legs outwards and return to the starting position without touching the mat. Repeat.
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This is an advanced variation of the plank. Starting with your arms straight in plank position, bring in your right knee and draw a circle with it clockwise, then anti-clockwise. Continue alternating five times then switch legs.
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You will need a towel to do this exercise. Starting with your body in a plank position and your feet on a folded towel (to help you slide easier), start to draw your legs in, raising your hips towards the sky. Hold for a second then repeat.
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Crunches is an easier alternative to other ab exercises To do a proper crunch exercise, start with your back on the ground and then lift your legs with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, cupping your hands behind your ears, gently squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your elbows back without arching your back. As you exhale, contract your core muscles and tuck your chin towards your chest, slowly curling your torso towards your thigh Lower yourself downward in a controlled manner, slowly uncurl your torso back towards the mat keeping feet, tailbone and lower back grounded.
If you do these core exercises regularly, you will soon find that ordinary tasks such as mopping the floor, walking, or even standing for extended periods of time become easier. Also, if you're are already exercising regularly, look to incorporate core-strengthening exercises, which helps to improve your posture and reduce risk of injuries.
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This article was last reviewed on
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
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