Running

Injury Prevention Starting at the CORE

Sports demand a lot of commitment. If you want to improve upon yourself, you must practice…a lot! Most often people think that in order to get better at something you must practice that one thing. While that is true, it doesn’t always offer what the body truly needs.

Let’s focus on the core of your body – your abs! When you lift your legs to walk or run, you greatly rely on your core muscles. Well, if it relies that much on your core, shouldn’t your core be really developed? Unfortunately not. It is important to do core work every day. If your core is underdeveloped or weak, your pelvis wobbles around. The purpose of your core muscles is to stabilize your pelvis so that your leg muscles can function properly to lift your legs. If your pelvis wobbles around, other muscles act to try to stabilize your core, including your hamstrings and hip flexors, among others. Surprisingly it can even cause back pain!

Your core is so important for everyday function. It seems nowadays that everyone allows their “busy” schedule to take over and they set exercise time aside. If for nothing else, I challenge you to set FIVE minutes of time a day aside to do core exercises. It will serve you well, and hey who doesn’t want a six pack!? 😉

I personally have had both hamstring and hip flexor problems when I slacked on doing my core exercises. It wasn’t until I began doing core exercises that those problems truly began to go away.

Here’s a quick set of abdominal exercises I like to do. I do each exercise for 1 minute, for a total of 5 minutes.

  1. Plank – get in a pushup position, but don’t go down into a pushup. Hold this position for 1 minute.
  2. bicycle – lay on your back. Put your hands behind your head. Move your legs in a “bicycle” motion, touching your right elbow with your left knee and your left elbow to your right knee.
  3. toe touches – lay on your back. Put your legs straight up in the air and straighten them out as much as you can. Touch your toes with your right hand, then your left hand (or get as close as you can to touching your toes).
  4. right side crunches – lay on your back and bend your knees with your feet touching the ground. Put your hands behind your head. Touch your right elbow to your left knee, then lower your shoulder back down to the ground. Repeat this for a minute.
  5. left side crunches – same exercise as above, but touch your left elbow to your right knee.

As always with any exercise, monitor for any abnormal pains. I don’t want you to pull an abdominal muscle!! If you have never done abdominal exercises, perhaps it is best to do each exercise for 30 seconds initially. You can work your way up to doing each exercise for 1 minute. Good luck!

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