Core strength is the development of the torso muscles that stabilize, align and move the trunk of the body. These include muscles in the abdomen, hips, buttocks, back, and pelvis. The core keeps the trunk stable so the arms and legs can move independently to perform the activities that we want to do. A weak core can lead to injury, poor posture, and difficulty performing the activities that we seek to do daily.
Here are some common signs of core weakness: low back pain, poor posture in standing (toe walking) or sitting (W-sitting), leaning or propping upper extremities of supporting surfaces in standing or sitting, poor balance, low standing endurance, fidgeting, or frequently changing positions, poor attention, and difficulty with fine motor tasks.
Benefits of strengthening core:
-helps reach milestones such as sitting, crawling, walking
-provides a stable base for gross and fine motor tasks
-improves everyday life activities
-improves balance and stability
-improves the ability to play sports and ride bikes
-decreases toe walking
Activities to work the core from a play-based approach
Supine – basketball sit up toss, hit a balloon with head, reverse curl with a ball, Sit in boat pose and grab a toy on the right with the left hand and switch hands to put in a container on the other side of the body.
Prone – rolling ball, board game, bunting, stacking cups, coloring on the floor, log rolling
Quadruped (hands and knees position) – cup stacking, crawling, single limb bird dog, alternating bird dog, reverse tabletop, playing a game in hands and knees, playing with cars, puppy dog races, retrieving puzzle pieces from a few feet away, and coming back to put in the puzzle.
Tall kneeling, - walking on knees, vertical coloring, tabletop activities, uneven surface, also incorporate half-kneeling.
Standing – wedge under feet for coloring, beach ball overhead carries, pillow walks, jumping
Other – swinging, biking, galloping, skipping, swimming, jump rope, trampoline, yoga, sitting on a dynamic surface like a therapy ball,
Information prepared by Milemarkers Physical Therapy Team