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A Happier Life With A Stronger Core

I once had a 20-year old basketball player come to me with low back pain. After a thorough assessment and ruling out red flags, I came to the conclusion that the source of his low back pain was coming from his lack of core strength. When I revealed this to him, he points at his 6-pack and says “I highly doubt I have a weak core, do you see these?”. We both laugh and then I decided to show him. His pelvic tilt was already really good so we moved on to core bracing, after a few tries he did pick it up pretty quickly.

“Hold the core bracing and let one of your legs slide down straight without lifting your spine off from the ground and without losing that abdominal pressure you have right now”. He was floored at the fact that he just could not do it. Let me rephrase that again: having washboard abs does NOT necessarily mean you have a strong core, it means you have done a lot of rectus abdominal exercises. Major emphasis on core strength and stabilization as our core is the fundamental muscle group we need in any movement or activity so when we try to carry groceries, walk up or down stairs, bend over gardening, run after the little ones or your dog(s).. your core should (eventually) automatically be activated! For athletes, a good majority of your power comes from your core muscle groups. It also anchors you down better so that you can execute your movement with more strength and control. For aging adults it is one of the best muscle groups to continuously work on to help improve or maintain our balance to prevent falls, it decreases your chances of getting low back pain and if you already have low back issues it provides pain relief. So how does having a stronger core mean a happier life? I am not here to tell you that in order to be happy you need a 6-pack (of beers or abs). Happiness needs to come from within you loving yourself and who you are. Happiness can also be being able to finish that spin class, passionately playing the sport you love, spending time with your kids, taking your dog out on that hike or just being able to walk - all without pain. Core strength will give you a better quality of life which is of value especially as we continue to grow. As we put more milage on our bodies whether it be through sport or our daily routine, our bodies will start to breakdown unless we give it the care and attention it needs in terms of nutrition, reduced tension and strength. Jeannette Quach

Certified Athletic Therapist, Registered Massage Therapist

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