It’s all the hype: Core Control. And it’s not just for adults.
Learning to control your core can have lifelong benefits. At the heart of the core is the pelvis. Most people have some understanding of the abdominal and back muscles but understanding the pelvis and its role in core control is paramount.
Whether you have kids with low muscle tone, high muscle tone, or normal tone, gaining control over their core can impact their position. posture, function and ability to focus, attend, concentrate and socialize. Lets take a closer look at pelvic stability and mobility and how to use it properly.
The pelvis tilts in 4 basic directions: forward, backward and side-to-side. Think of it like a clock with your clock’s center being the middle of the pelvis.
Have your child sit in a chair or, better yet, on a therapy ball. Now, to control your child’s core, have your child move their pelvis toward 12:00, 6:00, 3:00 and 9:00. As they do so, they will feel the lower abdominals, obliques, hip flexors and back muscles engage.
The more subtle the movement, the more control they gain over the pelvis. The more control, the better the ability to position it under the spine and over the legs in sitting and when standing. Kids love this activity on a ball or cushion.
Muscles on all sides surround the pelvis:
- abdominals in the front,
- obliques on either side,
- back muscles,
- diaphragm on top and
- pelvic muscles underneath.
It gets pulled in many directions from the lower abdominals, obliques, back extensors, quads and hamstrings. Any of these muscles being too tight or too weak can have an effect on the position of the pelvis.
Tight hamstrings can pull the pelvis too far back as can weak back muscles. Weak abdominals can create too much of an anterior pelvic tilt as can too tight hip flexors.
To help control your child’s core, it is really crucial that hamstrings and quads are stretched daily and lower abs and back are strengthened. A good therapist can do an assessment to determine muscle length and strength and can create a perfect exercise program for your core.
A Bit of Swag
Ever seen people who sway their hips side to side while walking? That can be from weak gluteus medius (hip) muscles.
Have your kids stand in the mirror and sway their hips side to side. Then see if they can find the middle point. Now ask them to stand on one foot without letting their hips dip on either side.
Keep It Moving
Keeping their pelvis mobile is crucial. Activities like hoola hooping, dancing, karate, yoga and gymnastics will keep the pelvis mobile and limber.
No time? Just get the kids to lay on their back. Tell them to press the small of their back into the floor. They will feel their pelvis move slightly backward and their abdominals engage. A set of 30 of these will keep your child’s abs strong and their pelvis mobile.
Allowing the pelvis to sit in a neutral position when sitting or standing can keep it healthy for years to come.
It should sit right over the thighs. A bit of anterior tilt (pelvis tipped a bit forward over the thighs) is a more active pelvic position and good for deskwork. But in general we like to see a 90-degree angle at the hips with the pelvis directly under the spine.
Whatever you do, keep your child’s core and pelvis mobile! It is the base for your spine and legs and also protects many internal organs. Here’s to your child’s happy pelvis and core!