Your core muscles are the muscle groups that surround your abdomen, back, pelvis,
and butt. Having a strong core can assist with preventing injuries due to twisting,
bending, lifting, and carrying. That’s why having a strong core can be especially
beneficial with gardening season around the corner! Strong core muscles can
improve balance, stability, and posture. A weak core is often the reason behind
many back pain issues and poor posture. Having poor posture can contribute to
headaches and breathing problems, as well as neck and back pain.
There are basically three layers of core muscles: a deep muscle layer that surrounds
your spine and is closest to your organs, the upper abs, and the side muscles, also
called the obliques. By working on your deep muscle layer, in addition to the rest of
your core, you’re going to develop a flatter stomach, stronger back, and really
improve your stability.

Here are 4 ways to strengthen your core for overall health and to prevent injuries:

1. Plank – the plank exercise strengthens your low back, abdomen, and chest,
in addition to your wrists, arms, and shoulders. It forces your muscles to
work together. Hold the position shown below for 30 seconds and repeat 3
times. Alternatively, hold the position for as long as you can handle.
Insert video of plank.

2. Bird dog – the bird dog strengthens your abdomen and your low back.
Alternate from one side to the other for at least 10 times on each side, or for
as many as you can tolerate. It’s just as important to control your movements
when you lift your arm and leg up, as it is when you put them down. So don’t
just drop them down in preparation to switch to the other side, slowly lower
them to the floor.
Insert video of bird dog

3. Squats – squats are great for strengthening your butt muscles. Your butt
muscles are also known as the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus.
Squats also strengthen your calves (lower leg) and quadriceps (your upper
leg). When exercising, you can do squats until you can’t squat any more (with
good form)!
Insert video of squats

4. Chair crunches – chair crunches are a good way to strengthen your
abdominal muscles without putting too much strain on your back. They’re
also a good way to take an exercise break while at work. Sitting in a chair,
you hold onto the sides and bring your knees into your chest and then

release and repeat. Don’t let your feet touch the ground. Again, it’s just as
important to control the lifting of your legs as it is to control the release to
the ground. Both actions help to build stronger abdominal muscles.
Insert video of chair crunches

Some other ways to improve your core is to do Pilates, yoga, or to work with a
personal trainer. Did you know that there are fitness classes at Cornerstone? Kenny
the “FitNut” personal trainer offers many fitness classes for all fitness levels as well
as one-on- one sessions. To find out more, give us a call at the clinic at (902) 820-
3443, or check out his info here (provide linkout to Kenny’s site)

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