PhysioFixx - St George & Sutherland Shire Physiotherapy

The CORE of fitness

According to a study published in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Sugeons core stability is a key to injury prevention and enhanced musculoskelatal health.

Whether you’re a 20-something weekend worrier on the treadmill or a senior-aged yoga enthusiast, core-stability building can improve posture, coordination, enhance physical function in daily living and help protect vulnerable joins and muscles from injury.

The body’s ‘core’ includes the trunk, pelvis, hips, deep abdominal muscles and small muscles along the spinal column.

‘Core stability’ is defined as the interaction of strength and coordination of these muscles during activity.

Core stability adapts posture and muscle activity to ensure the spine is stabilised and provides a firm base to support both the powerful and very basic movements of the extremities.

While all lower extremity injuries cannot be attributed to deficiencies in core stability, core muscle function has been reported to influence structures from the low back to the ankle, but most prominently in the knee.

People with delayed trunk muscle activity or hip muscle weakness have increased potential for core instability, and may be at a greater risk for lower back or various lower extremity injuries.

“However, with proper intervention and core stability by qualified professionals such as physiotherapists, most of these people can be trained to improve their response to bodily movements”

A recent trend in core stability training involves facilitation of small muscles of the trunk that are best suited to stabilize the spine. Because most activities of daily living require only modest levels of activation of these muscles, core stability training often focuses simply on fostering awareness of their activity. Common training for this purpose includes gently drawing-in the abdomen without altering normal breathing. Athletes, on the other hand, often experience much greater loads in their extremities, which places greater demands on core musculature. Therefore, strength training of the hip and trunk muscles is often necessary to ensure proximal stability.

After learning core stability techniques from your physiotherapist, equipment such as medicine balls, foam rollers, cuff weights and balance boards or gym balls allow people to independently reproduce these exercises, increasing and challenging their core muscle stability. The final step in core stability training is integrating the use of the core muscles into daily tasks and sport-specific activities.

Again, your physiotherapist is best qualified to assess the appropriate activation of these muscles and help you incorporate the actions of these muscles into daily activities specific to your functional goals.

To get started on your quest for a stronger core and better fitness, contact the friendly team at PhysioFIXX on 9583 9280.