Core Strength: Beyond Physical Therapy
Ok, don’t hate me, but I just got back from Hawaii. Even I, the best physical therapist in NYC, need a break once in a while! K? Anyway, there I was, in paradise, doing the things I love; surfing, diving, stand-up paddle boarding. And I noticed something all of those activities have in common, not just with each other (they are water sports that are best practiced in a beautiful and tropical locale), but with things we do every day: core strength is key. The balance necessary to stand on a surfboard: strong core. The strength to paddle over waves, out in the ocean while standing: strong core. A jarring boat coming down off swells, then the weight of the equipment, and the maneuvering on and off the boat on a scuba dive: strong core, strong core, and strong core.
All those things are a lot. Add a 10+ hour flight and you can imagine- even I was feeling a touch of hurt in my back. And I’m a physical therapy pro! Now think about riding the subway at rush hour: yup, a strong core helps there too. So what can you do to keep your core strength up? Here is some info on what your core is, and how you can work it. (As always, if you are in undergoing physical therapy please talk to your therapist before trying any moves!):
1) Here’s an ab “crunch” exercise. FYI- I really hate the term “crunch” because it’s exactly what you don’t want to be doing. The key here is to find your neutral position, breath deeply, and move slowly, so you can really engage those muscles.
2) Wait- what’s a core? Think of your body like a tree- your arms and legs and head are your branches, and your middle is your trunk, including your tush and even your thighs. That trunk area is your core. This article goes a little more in depth, and talks about the specific muscles that make up your core.
3) Health Magazine has a few good articles about the core. Here’s one with a yoga stretch that will strengthen and work a lot of key core areas nicely. This is also known as the Bird Dog and is a staple in lumbar stabilization exercises in Physical Therapy.
© Copyright 2011
Best Physical Therapist NYC
Karena Wu, PT, MS
ActiveCare Physical Therapy
12 W 37th Street
New York, NY 10018