Our spine is crucial for supporting our body, enabling flexibility, and protecting our fragile spinal cord. A strong core is a key aspect of maintaining our spine health, as our core supports the spine, encourages proper alignment, and can help prevent spinal injuries.
What is your core?
The core is a group of muscles in the abdomen, lower back, pelvis, and hips which all work together to provide stability to our spine. The stronger our core is, the more evenly the load on our spine is dispersed, lowering the risk of strain on our spine.
Strengthen your core through targeted exercises to encourage more spinal support.
- Planks: Planks are extremely effective at strengthening your core as they engage the entirety of your core. To do a plank, get in a position like you are doing a push-up, but place your forearms on the ground, lifting and holding your body into a straight, horizontal line.
- Bridges: Bridges are excellent exercises that target the posterior region of your core, targeting the glutes, hamstring, and lower back muscles. To do a bridge, lie on your back with your knees bent and lift your hips towards the ceiling repeatedly, forming a straight line from your head to your knee
- Russian Twists: Russian twists help to strengthen your core by targeting the obliques on the side of your abdomen. To do a Russian twist, sit slightly leaning back with your hands and feet raised off the ground while rotating your torso from side to side. To make these even more effective, try holding a weight to rotate with you.
- Bird-Dog: Bird dogs are great for strengthening your entire core as well as improving balance and coordination. To do a bird dog, you will alternate between the bird and dog poses. The dog pose involves being on your hands and knees with a straight spine. The bird pose involves lifting one hand and the opposite leg to form a line along your entire body.
- Mountain Climber: The mountain climber exercise is a rigorous and dynamic exercise that works, not only your core, but also the muscles in your arms and legs. To do mountain climbers, start in a plank position with your hands on the ground and alternate lifting your knees to your core in a running motion.
- Superman: The superman exercise is a beneficial core exercise as it works the lower back muscles and deeper muscle grounds that directly support the spine. To do the superman exercise, lay on your stomach with your arms out in front of you, lifting up your arms and legs to mimic a flying position.
Strengthening your core can enhance your spine health. Be sure to contact your healthcare care team to learn what exercise program is right for your specific spine condition.
AUTHOR: Dr. Doug Beacham III, DO is a fellowshipped-trained, dual-board certified physician in the fields of Anesthesiology and Pain Management (American Board of Anesthesiology). He has practiced in Oklahoma since 2013, and currently serves on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Pain Society. Dr. Beacham is proud to offer Oklahomans the most advanced and effective techniques capable of treating a full spectrum of acute and chronic conditions.