Does it seem like no matter what you do, you just seem to keep getting injured? Maybe it’s knee pain, neck pain, a rolled ankle. A workout feels like it’s a 50/50 chance that you’ll walk (or hobble) out having strained something else.
So what do you abdominals have to do with a sore ankle? The answer might just be “a lot!”
What is your core?
When someone speaks about your core, they are referring to the group of muscles in your midsection that work to stabilise your body. They generally help to maintain correct posture, and so any weaknesses or muscular imbalances can greatly affect balance and stability on your feet.
How can your core affect your rate of injuries?
The incredible thing about the human body is that it is all integrated- each section impacts on the rest. For example, having your knee joint slightly out of alignment can create an imbalance in the ankle joint. Having an issue with your hip joint can result in knee pain. Having an imbalance in your lower spine can force your hips out of alignment. Having a slouched upper spine can change the natural curve of your lower spine.
When you have a muscle group that is overly developed (for example tight chest muscles) and pair this with an antagonist muscle group that is underdeveloped (for example the muscles between the shoulder blades) you end up with a slouched posture.
See where we are going with this? It’s so important to have strong and toned core muscles that are balanced so that your posture stays in alignment plus you can correct slight imbalances easily and quickly. This means that you will be more stable standing, walking, running, or any other movement requiring balance.
How to strengthen your core
Exercises such as sit-ups, oblique crunches, supermans, balancing on one foot, exercises using Swiss balls or wobble boards, being in the ocean and having to stay upright against the push and pull of the current, exercises where you change direction quickly (agility training), pilates and yoga are all great examples of ways to strengthen your core.
Take a look at your current workouts, and see which exercises you are doing which involve activating your core. Are you doing enough? Are they balanced? (Your posture can tell you the answer to this). How can you improve your core strength further?
You might just find that the stronger your core and the better your posture, the less joint pain and injuries you experience, and the more physically active you can be!