Did you know that having better balance is linked to strengthening your core muscles? Yes, it’s the truth – we’re not joking!
Your core muscles will have a higher chance of keeping you from acquiring persistent lower back pain and other problems if they are strong. They also keep you from losing your footing or collapsing.
A strong core helps you stay upright, which is especially important as you become older and your chance of falling and injuring yourself increases.
Looking to improve your balance? It starts with strengthening your core! Request an appointment at Good Hands Physical Therapy in Bridgewater Township, NJ today to learn more about how our expert physical therapists can help you improve your core strength and balance!
All about your core muscles!
Most people believe that when you work on your core, you’re just doing ab crunches, but your core muscles are more than just your abs! There are two classes of core muscles: your inner core and your outer core.
The inner core muscles are attached to your spine. These muscles stabilize your core and keep it in the right position. The outer core muscles work together with the inner core muscles when you need to move your body and do most of your daily physical activities.
Core stability relates to your inner core muscles. These muscles stabilize your spine. Core strength relates to the outer core muscles and, when it is properly developed, works to help you move around with ease. Having regular visits with a licensed physical therapist can help you train both your inner and outer core muscles for better balance and movement!
The link between core strength and balance
Your body has three systems that help regulate and sustain your balance.
The first one is the vestibular system, which is responsible for giving your brain the necessary information it needs about how we move, our head position, motor functions, etc. The liquid in your inner ear functions as part of this system, like a “carpenter’s balance” to keep you level. If you’ve ever found yourself feeling off-kilter or dizzy, it means that the liquid in the vestibular system is off a bit.
Your visual system is the second balancing system. Your eyes convey information to your brain about where you are in relation to the world around you. The proprioceptive system, which deals with your core and the muscles in that area, is the third balancing system.
Your proprioceptive nerves are sensory nerves located all over your body. They make you aware of your posture and aware of where you are positioned compared to things surrounding you. To stay properly balanced, all three of these systems need to be in equilibrium. A weak core is one element that can not only throw off this internal equilibrium but can also make you feel off-balance to the point of falling over.
Physical therapy can improve core strength and balance
To begin focusing on your core strength, you don’t need a lot of pricey gym equipment. In fact, if you’re just getting started, many physical therapists will recommend this brief workout. It’s known as the “drawing in move,” or “sucking your tummy in” if you prefer a less fancy term.
According to the Mayo Clinic, any exercise that involves the use of your abdominal and back counts as a core exercise.
Here is a fast and easy exercise that many physical therapists recommend to patients who are just beginning to work on theirs. It’s referred to as the “drawing-in maneuver.” We all have probably done it before; ever heard of the phrase “suck your gut in?” This is pretty much the same thing!
Drawing in technique
To begin this maneuver, stand up straight. Find the correct pelvic position by rotating your hips forward and backward until you’re comfortable. Then, take a deep breath and draw your belly button in toward your spine.
Next, make sure you are not holding your breath though, as this isn’t a breathing exercise! You should be able to talk, breathe, and walk around your house with your belly button drawn in. It sounds pretty easy on paper, but if you’re older, recovering from an injury, or out of shape in general, this maneuver will prove to be a little hard at first.
The goal is to build up your core strength until you can hold your belly button in for 30 seconds. Then you can move on to more challenging core exercises. If you feel any pain at all from this maneuver, stop immediately, as this should not be painful!
As you build up your core, your physical therapist will suggest that you move on to more strenuous activities and exercises that are the best fit for your age and abilities. These will range from bridges and planks for the more athletic individuals, to more gentle routines (like yoga) for older individuals. Your therapist will also work with you on specific core exercises to help your balance.
Request an appointment with us today
Physical therapy at Good Hands Physical Therapy in Bridgewater Township, NJ can assist if you have a weak core or are having trouble balancing.
Your physical therapist will examine your ailment thoroughly, assess your physical abilities, and develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. To get started with a physical therapist, call our office and make an appointment!