Paula Allia on Strengthening your Core

by Paula Allia

As many people have decided to participate in some form of exercise for the new year, it is important to do it right. Usually within the first two months of a new exercise program people quit. The excuses are many but one of the most common is that people get hurt (feel pain) or they do not have the proper motivation or exercise correction to persevere.

One of the most important areas to strengthen before worrying about an overall body workout is to strengthen the core. Most think the core is the abdomen region but in actuality the core consists of 28 muscles in the trunk and pelvis region. These muscles work synchronously and contribute to the balance and coordination of the body’s intent to perform an activity. They fire to work together in order to set up a stable platform for you to then function more safely and proficiently, they protect the spine and hips.

Some muscles are under voluntary control while others are involuntary muscles. The nervous system is ultimately in control of ALL muscles. If someone has had an injury to an area, it is common that the muscles’ neuromuscular system has been affected. Often, the muscles that would kick in naturally are not firing properly. Thus, a movement
impairment occurs and most do not even realize this. It seems that most base their physiological state on pain.

Hospitals, doctors’ offices and especially insurance companies, always want a pain scale number from one to ten documented. The problem with this is that the person is focusing on pain instead of function. Focus on proper function and execution, rather than. A complication that can exist is a lingering movement, impairment that once pain is gone, the core muscles were not appropriately stimulated and thus the pattern of movement with core stabilization is not complete.

If the proper core muscles are not firing as needed abnormal wear and tear can happen to your joints, tendons and muscles and lead to compromise and ultimate breakdown. Joints can become either compressed or not stabilized, muscles and tendons can be overused or inhibited and eventually pain and dysfunction takes over. Usually by the time someone has pain the damage has already started.

Obviously, it would be ideal to become in tune to your inner body. Recognize that things feel tight, stiff, weak or just not normal. Notice your posture in various positions and try to make corrections but be careful that so called corrections are done right. So how does one stimulate the core? Well, there are many opinions out there. When dealing with muscles that are overall weak, it is good to start with an isometric with the muscle being held in a
shortened held resisted contraction.

This allows the neuromuscular system to help to reset and gain bias for muscle activity. Once muscles can contract and create tension in the shortened range, gradually work more into a lengthened position but make sure
this is done gradually. Keep in mind that performing an isometric tends to be pretty specific and strengthens the
angle where you are doing the contraction mostly but it does stimulate that nervous system to work with the
muscles and this is necessary! Working slowly into more lengthened ranges works to strengthen more angles and gradually you can then perform a motion throughout the full range. Finally, the muscles coordinate together with intent and the body, once again, is back on track perform.

In core muscles, many times the initial contraction is isometric to stabilize the body so that the activity or motion you desire to do can be done with control and safety. This is the mechanism that everyone wants to be working normally. Tune in to your body, strengthen the core muscles. Trainers and physical therapists can guide you to get you started.

Be smart; get fit; take your health and exercise seriously so that you can be the best that you can be!
For more information do not hesitate to call your local experts at Fitness Together 239.263.9348 To your health!

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