A strong core is essential to a mobile, pain-free, and independent life. Yet most people completely ignore it.
Even fitness enthusiasts tend to get lazy when building core strength. Average people, especially those in middle-age and beyond, likely believe that paying any attention to their midsection is an exercise in futility.
But having a ripped set of washboard abs does not necessarily indicate a strong core. And if you want to reduce the risk of back pain, injury, or mobility trouble, as well as make it easier to perform daily activities, core strength is essential.
Your “core” muscles are the pelvis, lower back, abdominals, and hips. They work together to promote stability, posture, and balance. Strong core muscles can do everything from helping you put your socks on to reaching an overhead item.
There are several ways to work out your core muscles. If you like resistance training, simply standing and using free weights can help your core strength because they keep you stable.
But there are also specific moves that can help. Sitting on an exercise ball, planks, sit-ups, hip flexor movements, and even yoga can target your core muscles.
One of the best at-home core exercises is the bridge. It targets the lower back, abs, hips, and pelvis all at once and can be done in the middle of your floor.
Start by lying on your back on the floor with your knees bent to perform a bridge. Keep your back in a neutral position, ensuring it’s not arched or pressed into the floor.
Tighten your abdominals and slowly raise your hips evenly off the ground until they are aligned with your knees and shoulders (it should be a straight diagonal line starting at the knees, running down through the hips to the shoulders). Hold it for as long as you can without breaking form.
Performing this exercise daily can help build a stronger core to improve posture, reduce back pain, limit injury risk, and enhance independence.