By: Kristi Hope, Certified Mat and Reformer Pilates Trainer
What does “Finding Your Center” mean to you? For most people, the thoughts of six pack abs comes to mind. What most people don’t realize is their “Center” is really the entire region between their armpits to just below their buttocks. In more common lingo, this area is considered your “Core”.
For most people, finding their center is incomprehensible. Your center is one of the most important parts of your being. Without your center (core), you wouldn’t be able to stand because the core muscles are the muscles that hold your body upright; and your inner core (what we call your deep core) plays a key role in the stability of your trunk (or torso) and pelvis.
Now that you understand the importance of a strong center, the reasons for training your core muscles may seem obvious:
STABILIZATION AND POSTURE
Gaining core/muscle stabilization helps with everyday normal activities and promotes good posture. Posture does more than simply make you look good by improving your silhouette and project confidence; Good posture lessens wear and tear on the spine and allows you to breathe deeply. Improving breathing in turn helps you gain the full benefits from your exercise regimen.
A strong core ensures a good solid foundation to build the rest of the body around and keeps the body’s muscles functioning in the way they were designed. The proper functioning of the body reduces imbalances, improves posture, and increases comfort while training; which in turn reduces the risk of injury because your body is properly aligned and balanced.
ENHANCED ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Core strength, as previously mentioned, improves your body alignment and balance which increases your athletic performance and improves the results of your training. Core strength is essential to becoming a better, more focused, stronger and faster athlete.
RESTORATION OF MUSCLE FUNCTION
For all of the reasons provided above, a strong core is the foundation necessary to restore normal muscle function lost due to injury. Balance, alignment, breathing…the foundation of our body and being are critical in this aspect of muscle function.
Through my experience, when someone new decides to take a Pilates class, it’s to strengthen their core because they’ve experienced some type of lower back pain or were referred by an orthopedist or physical therapist. My hope is that by understanding better what the core, or your center, means to your daily life that you don’t wait for the back pain; and that you add deep core training to your workout regimen before problems arise.
Our Gravity Pilates class is designed to help you do just that – either as a stand-alone program or as part of a larger exercise program – it is designed to enable you to find your center, as well as challenge and strengthen your deep inner core muscles. So as we say in the Pilates world, “abs to the spine” or “keep your mouse house closed.” When you’re able to do that, you will have found your center and found your healthy body.
About the Author – Kristi Hope, Certified Mat and Reformer Pilates Trainer
Born and raised in Metairie, Kristi has always been an active person incorporating fitness and exercise into her life. After being a Pilates client for several years, she decided that she would love to share her passion for Pilates with others. Through Balanced Body, she earned certifications in both Mat and Reformer Pilates. Kristi also holds a certification in the Xtend Barre Method.