…It Begins at Your Core

hernia_muscle_coreLook around the fitness world today, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a set of guidelines that doesn’t recommend strengthening the core muscles. For sports enthusiasts and professional players alike, it’s more important than ever to recognize the importance of the muscles that make up the body’s core, especially if you want to avoid a sports hernia.

Encompassing a large area from your pelvis and hips to abdomen and lower back, the core is, in a sense, what holds everything else together. Core muscles help to stabilize the body during activity and to keep your balance throughout the day. In addition, a good core can promote good posture, eliminate back pain, and decrease the likelihood of injury like a sports hernia. However, these core muscles are often neglected in favor of legs or arms, leaving them weak and your body out of balance.

When one set of muscles is stronger than another, they continually pull on the weaker area, breaking it down eventually to the point of injury. For instance, the thigh muscles are often the most developed and powerful in athletes. Thus when the thigh muscle pulls against one of the core muscles, the core muscle loses the tug of war and tears.

Any disconnect between unbalanced core and leg muscles can result in a wide range of side effects, the most serious being an injury like a sports hernia. Therefore, it is vital to keep core muscles in harmony with the legs and other muscle groups.

It may be crucial to have a strong core, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to achieve, especially for an amateur athlete. However, there are several helpful exercises that can help bring the core into balance with the rest of the body. The best part about these exercises is that they can be done anytime or anywhere, eliminating the need for a gym or costly equipment.

Classic body-weight exercises like bridges, sit-ups and push-ups all strengthen and stabilize your core. While aerobic activity is important to drop any unwanted weight around the core or other places on the body, core exercises help to tone and bolster the underlying muscles. Balance board exercises are very important to help muscle coordination.

Strengthening the core muscles not only helps with stability and balance, but also greatly reduces your risk of injury. Just a few minutes a day spent doing simple exercises can help to protect you from abdominal tears or sports hernias that could take you unexpectedly out of the game or keep you from enjoying activities.