When most people think of core strength the first two things that come to mind are washboard abs and a flat tummy. But core strength is much more important than that; it’s essential for overall movement effectiveness, quality of life and injury prevention.

This is especially important for low back pain suffers. If the muscles in the core are already weak, strengthening them can be an important component to reducing pain, maintaining good posture and increasing stability/balance.

As you may of heard in the news, the “sitting disease” has been labeled the new modern-day health epidemic. Sitting for long periods of time can slow our body’s metabolism and increase areas of pain and tightness. One solution is to try taking small walking breaks throughout the day to keep the body moving. Standing desks and stability ball chairs have also become a popular office trend.

To alleviate your back pain, start by trying these basic strengthening exercises that can be incorporated into your weekly fitness routine (I recommend 2-3 times a week). All you’ll need is a mat!
Classic Plank

1) Start by lying face down on your mat. Place your elbows and forearms underneath your chest.
2) Prop yourself up to form a bridge using your toes and forearms.
3) Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag towards the ground.
4) Hold position for 10 seconds, relax and repeat
5-10 times

First time plankers: Try doing this exercise from your knees
Wall Sits

1) Stand about 10 to 12 inches from the wall, then lean back until your back is flat against the wall.
2) Slowly slide down until your knees are slightly bent, pressing your lower back into the wall.
3) Hold for a count of 10, then carefully slide back up the wall.
Repeat 8-12 times
Bird Dog

1) Begin by getting down on your hands and knees with your arms shoulder-width apart and hands directly underneath your shoulders.
2) Next, tighten your core and begin exercise by raising your right arms up and your left leg up at the same time until they are both in line with the rest of your body.
3) Hold this position for a brief moment and then return to starting position.
Repeat with opposite leg and arm.
Alternating Reverse Lunge

1) Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands clasped behind your head.
2) Step back with your right leg and lower your body until your left knee is bent to 90 degrees.
3) Push back up to start. That’s one rep. Now switch legs.
Repeat for 12 reps totals.
Boat

1) Start seated with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
2) Lean back just far enough so your feet can float off the ground.
3) Begin to straighten your legs together so that your body forms a V shape, keeping your arms extended and parallel to the ground.
4) Balance on your tailbone and sit bones, chest lifted, and gaze forward.
5) Hold for five to 10 breaths.
Repeat two to five times.

It’s never to late to start making healthy changes in your life! Your body will thank you down the road. Start with a goal, stay in tuned with a powerful mind and reduce loads of stress with exercise.

Robyn provides in-home customized personal training, corrective exercise programs and nutrition counseling services in the Center City, Philadelphia area. She specializes in corrective exercise for improved movement, muscular imbalances, and injury prevention. As well as weight loss/gain, body sculpting, overall strength conditioning and lifestyle improvement. For more information, questions or comments please visit resultsbyrw.com.

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