Why Core Strength Is Vital to Vitality

By Brittany Risher |

Fitness expert David Jack reveals why a strong core can change your life.

Fitness experts love talking about the importance of your core. But it’s not always clear why core strength is so crucial—or even what exactly your core is.

According to fitness expert David Jack, the core is two things:

  1. Your centerline of balance, or the imaginary line you would draw from the crown of your head to the ground between your feet.
  2. The area from your glutes and hips up through your rib cage. It’s like a cylinder that your arms and legs are attached to.

Why does the core get so much attention?

First, it’s synonymous with posture, Jack says, and posture is connected to almost everything. “When we don’t have a healthy, upright posture, our organs are compressed and our breath is restricted,” he says. “And so much of our life and vitality comes from our breath.”

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Second, a strong, supportive core helps you avoid pain and injuries so you can keep doing all the things you love.

“Think of the pelvis as a hula hoop and all of your muscles as strings attached to it,” Jack says. “If one string is pulling really hard on one side and another string on the other side is slack, the hula hoop tilts.”

That muscle imbalance (the strong and slack strings) leads to a tilted pelvis, back pain, knee pain, and hip issues. And if you exercise with an imbalanced body, you add stress, which can result in chronic pain and dysfunction.

Finally, your core is the anchor system that your arms and legs snap into. Your shoulders and hips are ball joints, meaning they’re meant to move, reach, and step over things. If your core is weak and imbalanced, your brain can’t trust it as the support that keeps your limbs safe when they need to move in space, Jack says.

“When your core is strong and balanced, not only does your brain know it can keep you safe, but it’s also easier to move,” he says. “You have the ability and freedom to move about in the world independently.”

The bottom line: If you want to live a full, limitless life, you can’t ignore your core. Here are some great resources to help build the core strength you need:

SilverSneakers Group Exercise Classes