Age With Grace: Strengthen Your Core

Mobility loss and misalignment progressively occur as a part of the aging process. The goal of physical fitness then isn’t just to gain strength, but also to improve flexibility, range of motion, joint alignment and proprioception. Standard strength training methods of solely isolating a particular group of muscles is nowadays deemed ineffective and obsolete. The core concept of conditioning several areas of the body at once, scientifically termed functional fitness, is the most effective, creative, and functional way to train and strengthen your core.

In order to strengthen the body’s core, instability or resistance, is vital. Both methods promote muscular engagement and response. Our “core” is essential to our adaptive functionality, especially as we age. Thus, it is imperative that we begin to understand that our core is not solely limited to our mid-section. Acknowledging that core muscles are connected to our legs and back is critical. The way we sit, stand and squat requires core development. Therefore, when thinking about training the core, let us refocus our efforts on functional training methods that provide instability, resistance and/or both. Modes such as BOSU/balance training or any other method of functional activity that requires stabilization of the trunk while simultaneously requiring movement of the extremities is key. Ultimately, focus on integrating in instability, in an effort to promote stability. Engage in approaches that help strengthen the back and gluteus together with the ligaments and muscles that form our spinal column.

By intending to participate in daily functional activities that strengthen our core, we will help to offset the effects of aging. Improvements in core strength will help reduce our risks of excessive or repetitive weight bearing damage to our bones.   Strengthening our core will not only help in supporting our spines, it will encourage longevity and the quality of safe, sustainable, functional independence. Most importantly, it will inspire graceful aging.