How to Improve Your Balance By Increasing Your Core Strength

The relationship between core strength and balance is something that has been widely discussed within the physical therapy field for several years. Your trunk contains multiple core muscles that work to prevent physically limiting conditions, such injuries, lower back pain, or balance and gait disorders. When your core is strong, it helps keep you upright and decreases your risk of falling. If you are interested in learning more about how our services can improve your balance, contact us today!

How are core and balance related?

There are three systems in your body that help to control your balance: The visual system, the vestibular system, and the proprioceptive system.

The visual system refers to the messages that your brain and eyes send to each other, in order to help you see. Your eyes send signals to your brain about your position in relation to the world around you.

The vestibular system refers to the liquid in your inner ear that functions as a sort of “carpenter’s balance,” in order to keep you level. If you’ve ever felt dizzy, it generally means that the liquid in the vestibular system is a little bit off-balance.

The proprioceptive system is the one that involves your core. Proprioception nerves are sensory nerves that situate throughout the body. They make you aware of your posture and aware of spatial things around you.

In order to stay balanced, one must have equilibrium in all three systems. A weak core is one element that can make you feel off-balance and cause you to fall down.

The impact of core muscles on stability:

When many people think of core muscles, they immediately picture the abs – but there are so much more! In fact, there are two separate groups of core muscles: the inner core and the outer core.

The inner core muscles are attached to your spine and they help to stabilize your core. The outer core muscles work in conjunction with the inner core muscles whenever you need to move your body from point A to point B – or, essentially to do most physical activities.

When we think of “core stability,” we are thinking of the inner core muscles. When we think of “core strength,” we are thinking of the outer core muscles. Engaging in physical therapy will help you to train both your inner and outer core muscles, in order to achieve better balance and movement.

PT treatments for core building and improved balance:

Core strength can be improved upon without pricy gym equipment. Many physical therapists will recommend a simple and quick exercise known as the “drawing in maneuver.”

To accomplish this exercise, begin by standing up straight with your hips in line with the rest of your body. Suck in your stomach, as if you were drawing your belly button in toward your spine. Then, walk around with your belly button still drawn in.

Ideally, your core muscles should be strong enough to hold that position for at least 30 seconds. However, if you are out of shape, you may have to build up to this time. This should be a painless exercise, so if you notice any pain while performing it, make sure you stop immediately. Once your core begins to build more muscle, your physical therapist will move you on to more difficult exercises, such as yoga, planks, or bridges.

If you have been struggling with your balance, we can help. Contact us today to learn how our core strengthening services can improve your balance and get you back on your feet!

The Connection Between Core Strength and Better Balance

Physical therapy as an industry has been talking about the link between core strength and better balance for years. When the “core” muscles around your trunk are strong, they prevent chronic lower back pain and many other injuries, but they also keep you from losing your balance and falling down. A stronger core will help to keep you upright — especially as you age and start to become more at risk of falling. If you’d like to get started on a core routine to improve your balance, contact Therafit PT today to speak with a physical therapist!

How Core Strength and Balance Are Linked

There are three systems in your body that help to control your balance. One is the vestibular system; the liquid in your inner ear functions sort of like a “carpenter’s balance” to keep you level. If you’ve ever felt dizzy, it means the liquid in the vestibular system can be “off” a little bit. Another balancing system is your visual system. Your eyes send signals to your brain about your position in relation to the world around you. The final system is the proprioceptive system, which has to do with your core.

Proprioception nerves are sensory nerves situated throughout the body that make you aware of your posture and awareness of spatial things around you. To stay balanced, you have to have equilibrium in all three systems. A weak core is one element that can make you feel off balance and cause you to fall down.

Core Muscles, Core Stability & Core Strength

Your core muscles are more than just your abs! In fact, there are two groups of core muscles: Inner core and outer core. The inner core muscles are attached to your spine; they’re the muscles that stabilize your core. The outer core muscles work in conjunction with the inner core muscles when you need to move your body from point A to point B (or to do most physical activities).

Core stability relates to your inner core muscles. These muscles stabilize your spine. Core strength relates to the outer core muscles and is developed to help you move around better. Engaging in physical therapy will help you to train both inner and outer core muscles for better balance and movement.

Core Strength & Stability Through Physical Therapy

You don’t need a bunch of expensive gym equipment to start working on your core strength. In fact, here’s a quick exercise that many physical therapists will recommend if you’re just starting out. It’s called the “drawing in maneuver,” or if you prefer the less fancy term, “sucking your gut in.”

First, stand up straight and find the proper pelvic position. This is done by rotating your hips forward and back finding the comfortable “middle” position. Then, draw your belly button in toward your spine. Don’t hold your breath — it’s not a breathing exercise. You should be able to talk, breathe and slowly walk around with your belly button drawn in. It sounds easy, but if you’re older, out of shape or recovering from an injury, the drawing in maneuver will be a little difficult at first.

You want to build up your core muscles until you can hold your belly button in for 30 seconds before moving on to more difficult core exercises. Also, if you feel any pain from this exercise, stop immediately. It shouldn’t be painful. As you build up your core, your physical therapist will recommend moving on to more strenuous exercises that are appropriate for your age and ability. This can range from planks and bridges for the more athletic, to gentler workouts like a yoga routine for older folks. Your therapist will also work with you on specific core exercises to help your balance.

If you have a weak core or you’re struggling with balance, physical therapy can help! Contact our Fayetteville or Hazel Green offices and schedule an appointment to get started with a physical therapist today.

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