You always hear the phrase “conditioning your core” thrown around in the world of belly dance. No matter what type of activity you do, you’ll likely hear your coach or trainer tell you that you need to work on building your “core fitness.” But what does it mean to an oriental dancer to have a strong core, and why is it important?
Many people think that their core is just their abdominal muscles, but there is much more to it. The term refers to the entire group of muscles that span the length of your torso. This includes back, spinal, shoulder, and pelvic muscles. The purpose of developing core fitness is to allow the body to send more energy to the extremities.
For example, runners often think that the key to the sport is strengthening their leg muscles, but the best runners out there have very little muscle bulk. The key to running is actually core strength – the body’s ability to maintain its posture and control its movement while the muscles in the extremities perform other tasks.
A weak core means that all of your stamina, energy, and strength will be used to hold up your body rather than move your hips or shimmy with your shoulders. A weak core will zap you of your energy faster than the simple fatigue of dance ever could.
By building your core muscles you can transfer energy from your torso to your arms and legs. The most common exercises used to build the core are pushups, squats, lunges, and plank exercises. Many dancers choose to use a medicine ball, dumbbell, stability ball, or other balance product to this end as well. The best sports for developing core strength are Pilates and yoga if you’re looking for an extra hobby.
For best results in increasing your overall fitness, start a core conditioning regimen today. In addition to helping you dance with more fluidity and flexibility, a strong core can help to protect against a whole host of health problems related to back pain and spinal misalignment.
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