There is actually a connection between your core strength and balance. Our abdomen area or core is important in many of our daily activities and they act as central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body. Whether you’re hitting a tennis ball or mopping the floor, the necessary motions either originate in your core, or move through it.

Keeping your core muscles in shape will help with everyday acts ranging from picking something off the floor to putting your shoes on, turning to look behind you, sitting in a chair, or simply standing still.

Your core acts as way to stabilize your body, and allows you to move in any direction, even on the bumpiest terrain, or stand in one spot without losing your balance. Core exercises can also lessen your risk of falling.

Many think that sit ups or crunches are the only ways to strengthen our core, but there are many ways to strengthen this part of your body. Here are a few ways to help strengthen your core:

    • Leg lifts: Work your lower abdominal muscles by lying flat on the floor with legs and feet relaxed. Contract your abs while raising one leg about 5 inches off the floor, holding for 3 counts. Repeat with the other leg.
    • Seated side bends: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, keeping one hand behind your head and the other reaching towards the floor. Lean over as though you’re going to touch the floor, tightening the oblique muscles running along the side of your body in the process. Return to your initial position and repeat on the opposite side.
    • The Superman: This movement strengthens your lower back and improves stability. Lie face down on the floor with arms outstretched in front of you. Raise your head, right arm and left leg in tandem about two inches, then lower and repeat on the opposite side.
    • The Bridge: Lie flat on your back, keeping your knees bent and feet flat against the ground. Tighten your core, raising your hips until a straight line is formed between your knees and chest- do not arch your back. Hold for three breaths, then lower back down.

If you’re experiencing any muscle pain or difficulty with daily activities, it might be a good idea to see a physical therapist.