Campus Recreation introduced a new program this year that aims to sculpt students’ core muscles in order to create stability and inner-strength.
“Core training provides the body with a working foundation,” wrote Tamar Cline, Campus Recreation strength and fitness coordinator, in an e-mail interview. “When the body is executed in absence of a functional core, poor posture, unwanted aesthetic changes and injury are inevitable.”
Campus Recreation decided to implement the new program in part because of the National Collegiate Health Association Healthy Campus 2010 Assessment, the first part of which was conducted last year.
“It’s an assessment looking at lifestyle and behavior factors with our students at CSU,” said Deb Morris, a health educator with Hartshorn Health Service. “I’m really excited that we’ll have all of this data about our students so we can plan programs that meet the needs of our students right here at CSU.”
Part of the assessment included a survey that asked students to identify health issues they had experienced in the last year. The most common response was allergies, and back pain came in second.
Core training, including pilates, can help prevent back pain, and injury in general, because it strengthens the muscles that support the body’s torso and spine.
“The survey is definitely responsible in highlighting the need to incorporate core training into our practices at the (Student Recreation Center),” Cline said. “However, the fitness industry has also been supporting the incorporation of core training into the mainstream of fitness and just recently, within the last five years, we’ve begun to understand its importance through research.”
Cline said the most important benefit of core sculpting is reducing the body’s susceptibility to injury, but there are other positive effects of the program.
“These classes can assist overall in people’s fitness pursuits,” she said. “It will allow a person to more successfully achieve chiseled abs and a toned body overall, and increase overall physical performance through sports or whatever their interest.”
Carol Miller, director of physical therapy at Hartshorn, said back pain is caused by repeated stress on the back through activities such as poor posture or regular heavy lifting.
She said it is important for people to do core-strengthening exercises to maintain muscle tone and flexibility, whether they already have back pain or not.
“If you don’t hurt, you’re going to think everything is OK,” she said. “The problem is that it’s cumulative over time.”
She said that while core sculpting and pilates classes are good tools to keep the body’s core in shape, simple exercises such as keeping up a walking regimen can also prevent injuries.
“You don’t have to be a lean machine,” she said. “You just have to start moving.”
Miller said the physical therapy department at the health center offers treatment for those already suffering from back pain, but she encourages people to come in at the first signs of pain.
“We’d like to see them before it gets to that extreme point and that’s where the preventative questions come in,” she said. “We want to get someone on a good program and teach them good body mechanics. We want to get to them before they actually injure their back.”
The core training classes at Campus Recreation are free and open to anyone. For a schedule, go to http://campusrec.colostate.edu/Docs/SF/Fall2004.pdf or pick one up at the Student Recreation Center.
Also, on October 6 from 6 to 7 p.m., the Campus Recreation personal trainers will host a clinic on core training exercises.
For more information on the physical therapy program at the health center, call (970) 491-1735.