THE IMPORTANCE OF CORE STRENGTH
What is my ‘CORE’
First things first…what exactly is ‘THE CORE’.
Some believe that core = abs and so consider a visible six pack to mean great core strength. This is incorrect and people who spend a lot of time honing their abdominal muscles in isolation end up with an imbalanced and ineffective core, lacking strength and stability.
Core stability is the ability to control the position and movement of your trunk over your pelvis to allow you optimum control over bodily motion. The muscles that provide this stability include those in your pelvis (pelvic floor muscles), the muscles of your spine and lower back, your hips and glutes, as well as your internal abdominals and your diaphragm.
Benefits of Core Strength
The Core lives up to it’s name because it is the centre of your body and everything works around it. Weak or inflexible core muscles can therefore impair how efficiently and effectively your arms and legs function.
A strong core enhances your balance and stability making it easier to do most physical activities whether you are running a marathon or doing the housework. It helps maintain good posture, keeps your back healthy, helps prevent falls and injuries during sports or other day to day activities. In fact, a strong, flexible core underpins almost everything you do.
Core stability is crucial to maintain efficient bodily movements, maximising force generation whilst minimising impact on your joints.
How to Build a Strong and Stable Core
NUTRITION: EMBRACE THE CORE…I’M TALKING APPLES
Sticking to the theme of ‘core’ this month, I am going to provide some nutritional info on apples and some handy ways to get more of them in to your diet. There is an abundance of apples growing in the orchard At The Farm, so feel free to pick a few after your next class before they all start to turn.
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, but where did this stem from? Are apples really that wonderful? Well, it turns out, they really are a nutritional powerhouse. They are packed full of lovely vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and phytonutrients that have a range of benefits for our bodily health.
Apples are pretty high up on the antioxidant scale. I will dedicate a month soon to uncovering what antioxidants actually are and why everyone sings their praises. But in the meantime just appreciate that antioxidants do great work to reduce the damage that oxidation can do to our cells, helping to reduce inflammation and the risk of developing cancer. The antioxidant properties in apples, as well as the fibre, can also help stabilize blood sugar levels, meaning that a daily dose could help lower your risk of developing diabetes.
Dietary fibre helps to support a healthy digestive system, allowing foods to pass happily through your digestive tract.
Apples are rich in vitamins A & C which help support your immune system, as well as vitamin K which aids blood clotting and B7 (biotin) which helps to break down fat.
Juice versus whole apple
Apple juice does maintain a lot of the benefits of the apple, however you miss out on the dietary fibre and the sugar is more easily absorbed in to the blood stream. A glass of juice will contain the sugar of multiple apples, without the additional benefits of those apples. Juice will only ever count as one portion of fruit, no matter how much you drink.
Studies have demonstrated that people who eat more whole fruits, including apples are less likely to develop high blood pressure. Most likely due to the antioxidant effects of the polyphenols in the fruit which mostly reside in the peel, something that is lost in the juicing process. Diets that include a good amount of fresh, whole and unprocessed fruits have also been associated with lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. So, try and eat more apples than you drink.
5 ways to eat more apple
1. As a Snack: Cut It Up
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than digging your teeth in to a big, crisp, juicy apple. But, I don’t always fancy eating an entire apple whole. On those days when for some reason a whole apple intimidates me, I just cut it up in to slices. I find it much more palatable and end up consuming more of the flesh.
A great, quick snack or even something to have for pudding is just half a sliced apple with a hunk of cheese. Very filling and delicious!
2. In your morning porridge
Ginger & Apple Porridge
3. In A Salad
Apples make a great addition to a salad. I often toast a handful of walnuts or pine nuts for my salads to make them more filling, to add a different texture and for extra nutritional benefits (e.g. walnuts are a fantastic source of omega 3 fatty acid). And apples go so well with walnuts! You can add anything you like that compliments these ingredients, such as blue cheese, goat’s cheese or feta.
4. Blend it!
Apple & Butternut Squash Soup
5. Dinner Time
Pork Fillet with Mustard & Apple