How My Core Saved My A$$! (Literally!!!)
I was walking to my car wearing heels and carrying two tote bags and my usual heavy backpack. The roads were still icy from the storm that had hit Connecticut this past week. Even though I was walking diligently, I felt myself involuntarily skate across the ice and knew that a fall was pending. I also felt my core muscles reflexively contract and was amazed when my skid came to a halt and I found myself still standing and unscathed. I felt like a super-woman! It was at that very moment that I realized that I had my incredibly strong core muscles to thank for sparing me a disasterous Monday morning fall.
The goal of our musculoskeletal system is to provide us the ability to move, form a shell to encase our vital organs, and protect us from injury. Our "core" muscles are composed of the transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis and the erector spinae. These muscles are essential to stabilizing our torso and our hips when we're moving in anticipated as well as unplanned movement patterns. With weak core muscles people are more prone to losing balance, experiencing back pain and poor posture.
After my epiphany, I rushed to the office to research to see if there was any scientific research to explain my observation. ...There is so much research out there!
Core muscles are essential in preventing falls in seniors (PMID 23568373). Seniors are at SUCH high risk of falls, which can place them at risk for hip fracture, concussions and potentially life threatning injuries. About 1/3 of adults over the age of 65 fall a year!
Core training is also being recommended for firefighters, who tend to be at high risk for impact injuries while they're on duty (PMC1865378). Even though we're not firefighters, most of us will find ourselves stumbling or experiencing an impact injury at some point or another.
I've been using the Black Fire Daily Burn work-out system daily. It's providing me with muscle building and core strengthening workouts that I'm able to do at any hour of the day. Luckily, before I slipped I was still sore from my workout the previous day, which enabled me to feel the full recruitment of ever fiber in my core to keep me from falling. Since then, I've noticed other activities which rely on my core, including carrying my groceries, lifting and carrying heavy boxes, and even walking quickly and running.
Traditional Indian healing philosophy sees our body as being composed of many different energy centers, the main ones being our Chakras. Core muscle strength involves three major chakra centers, the base chakra located in our pelvic floor muscles, the sacral chakra and the solar plexus chakra located in our diaphragm. These lower chakras encompass feelings of protection, groundedness, security and govern the production of energy and feelings of self-empowerment. I'm in awe of how my core muscles (aka "physically strengthened lower chakra centers") literally kept me grounded and safe from falling out of balance. We can only wonder what the implications of strong core muscles have on more psychological aspects of wellness including social connectedness, feelings of compassion, groundedness, stability and self-love.
That's it for tonight! Good night everyone, stay warm, safe and in balance!