Core Fitness for Men over 50
If you’re over 50 years old, you absolutely must have a strong core, here’s why.
Most people have heard about the importance of “core strength”. But notions of a fitness routine bring thoughts of upper body strength, including adding muscle to the chest, upper back, biceps and triceps. While targeting upper body strength and size seems like traditional gym work and agreeably has the highest sex appeal, but for men over 50, your core is absolutely the most important body part to develop.
What is the core?
Core muscles make up the 360-degree area wrapping around your entire torso and hip regions. In the front, the core muscles begin just below your chest and run down to your pelvis. In the
back, the core muscles begin about mid-back and run down to your upper legs.
Many people incorrectly think of the core as just “abs” associated with the famed “six pack” look. While the main abdominals to compose an important part of the core group, thoughts of core strength must be expanded to include the entire torso region.
Additionally, many don’t realize that hips are indeed part of the core, and that abdominal and back muscles reach down to the hips, while hip muscles (including the gluteals, or “butt” muscles) reach up into the torso, with the two groups overlapping each other and working together as a system.
Why core strength?
What’s the strongest part of a tree? Its branches? Of course not, it’s the trunk. Imagine a tree with the trunk as its weakest part. How long would the tree continue standing? Probably not very long.
Likewise, think of a house built on a weak and crumbling foundation. This house be built from the best materials available using the best techniques, but how long will it stand if the foundation is crumbling away beneath it?
The same is true of your core. The core is your base, your trunk, your foundation. All movements you make with your hands, your arms, and your legs uses your core as the base. If you try to lift a weight, swing a club, or a bat, or a racquet, that strength “pushes off” from your core. Imagine pushing a boat off from a wobbly dock; much of the pushing force is lost when the dock moves.
Additionally, a strong core protects your spine, which, like most of the skeletal system, is not designed to bear much weight or absorb much shock. For people with “back problems”, this usually stems from a weak core unable to support the forces placed on it, transferring that force to the spine, compressing and wearing on the discs that cushion the individual vertebrae.
Building Core Strength
Building core strength is the combination of targeting the front, sides, and back of your core. Here are a list of basic exercises that can get you started. As always, if you don’t have fitness experience, find a qualified persona l trainer to help you, it’s the best investment you’ll ever make.
1) Ball crunches
2) Back extensions
3) Front planks
4) Side planks
5) Wall ball squats
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