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Use your core

Use Your Core

Last night my daughter was complaining of neck pain. It seems she was down at the beach learning to kiteboard. Actually she was just learning to handle the kite on the beach, a precursor to kiteboarding. I think a boy had something to do with the all day beach adventure. Regardless, I was pleased that she was doing something constructive at the beach. I am always encouraging activity with teenagers and just lying on the beach is not an approved activity in my book.

She seems to have neck pain quite often and although most of the time it is from studying (on the bed) hunched over her laptop, this pain was obviously not from studying.........academic material. According to her, spending a day at the beach with a cute boy was well worth the discomfort. Learning to kiteboard was an added extra.

I asked her how she was holding her arms while handling the kite. It was clear that she was using all upper extremity strength while the wind was pulling her body all over the beach. She is NOT a big girl, so she was trying really hard to stay in place. I'm sure that having the boys watch her was an added incentive to try even harder. Hence, the sore neck in the evening.

I couldn't help but add my two cents. Who would have ever imagined that I couldn't keep my mouth shut! I showed my daughter how to engage her core to keep her body stable and in order for her extremities to work more efficiently. You see, proximal stability allows for distal mobility. That means that when you are strong at the center (your core), your arms and legs can move more freely with strength and ease.

Standing on the sand (which is an unstable surface) adds an extra challenge, making core strength even more essential to control the kite. This concept is so common with everything we do, it just is not as apparent with less intense activities. A good example is gardening. Think about clipping back a hedge or large plant. When you have those heavy clippers out in front trying to clip a branch, it is much easier when you engage your abdominals and have a strong back. You are much less likely to injure your shoulder or elbow if your core is engaged and strong when you reach forward.

Try bracing and engaging your abdominals with all activities, even vacuuming and mopping the floor. It will be surprising how much easier the chore will become. Don't wait for an injury to learn these things. Be pro-active and avoid injuries. The cost of health care is too high, don't put yourself in the system! Always think strong core and engage those muscles. It will make a huge difference!