“Your child has reduced core strength”

“Your child needs to work on their core strength”

“They have weak core muscles”.

We often see children who do indeed have reduced core strength, but who actually knows what this really means? And why is it important?

Let us start with defining the core, according to the dictionary..

core: noun “The part of something that is central to its existence“.  Wow, that was deep..  Yet in a way, quite accurate about describing your child’s centre.

The core has been described as our “anchor” point. It is a very complex bunch of muscles groups in the back/abdomen/shoulder girdle/hip girdle that affects, well, A LOT! The core include muscles deep within the body (such as your diaphragm and pelvic floor) as well as exterior muscles (“abs”). The deep inner core muscles help stabilise you; they will be the guys that help you out if you were to stumble and fall. They also help us to breathe deeply! The outer core muscle helps us out when we need to move quickly (ie pulling, pushing).

school readiness groups 1100x532

So basically the inner core keeps you steady and stable, whilst the outer allows for more movement and function.

If we have a strong inner core, the outer core will work more effectively. If our core is working effectively, our limbs move more effectively.. Hello handwriting, walking, jumping, dressing, catching, hopping, pointing, pushing, skipping, typing, sitting.. The list goes on.

For those visual learners, this is a quick video which shows just how the core muscles work together.

How do I know if my child has weak core muscles?

We as Occupational Therapists keep our eyes peeled for certain clues… Do you ever notice the following about your child?

– Your child often props themselves up using their hands (head in hands, hand on side of chair when seated etc)

– They prefer to lay down and lean on you ALL the time

– They fatigue quickly when standing

– They have poor motor skills and co-ordination difficulties

– They hook their legs under chair/table legs

– Excessive bashing, crashing, throwing their body around

– Or you just generally see poor posture (slouching, hunching over)

The above mentioned difficulties COULD suggest core weakness. However it could also suggest other issues. Speak to your OT or health professional if you think this could describe your child.

Stay tuned for the next part of our core mini-series.

Have a great week,

Kate