Strengthening your core is more easily achieved through some exercises than others. These fitness classes and exercises are known for their core benefits.

“The great thing about yoga and Pilates is that you’re holding yourself with body- weight exercises, ” Ms Martino says.

“Every second person who comes to class is looking to strengthen their core.

“Pilates is great for retraining the body about how it should move, whereas yoga is a beautiful flow and stretch, great for relaxation and clearing the mind.

“A lot of people over-work the core muscles and pelvic floor, and think it’s about strength and rigidity —it’s more about flexibility and engaging.”

“Swimming is not just arms and legs moving — the core muscles need to work actively through the whole stroke to keep the body stable, ” Mr Kirby says.

“Swimmers need to constantly balance and re-balance the body through the core region to stop their body from snaking side to side with each arm pull.

Mr Kirby says the core also needs to work to keep the body aligned with the surface of the water — stopping the feet from dragging.

“I love seeing the 70-plus-year-olds getting out after a swim — they look so happy, have great posture and are really fit, ” he says.

“Your core is getting worked all the time in this sport — every time you’re lifting a leg, your whole core kicks in to maintain technique in the kick, creating power and impact at the end of the blow, ” Mr Lockyer says.

He says the fact you’ve got resistance against you in martial arts drives your core to fight against the impact, forcing students to learn how to use their core properly.

“I did it all the wrong way in the old days, ” he admits.

“For the last 10 years I’ve got right into the core, the yoga, the recovery work, the proper strength work — and I literally am in better strength than I was in my 20s.”

“Pole dancers build strong cores and amazing abs — especially when learning upside-down moves, ” Ms Vivoda says.

“Your core gets a great workout while you’re trying to keep balance and stability as you learn new pole moves — and abdominal isolation movements like body rolls and hip circles are great.”

Ms Vivoda lists upper body strength and flexibility as other major fitness benefits in pole dancing.

“Holding yourself up on the pole requires every muscle in your body, ” she says.

“And learning choreographed routines also significantly improves your cardio fitness.”


How pole dancing strengthened my core: with Melissa Lisle, student at Bobbi’s Pole Studio

“I started pole dancing about four years ago after I had my second child — I’d heard it was good for your core strength and after having two kids 18 months apart, I thought I could do with rebuilding my abdominal area, ” Ms Lisle says.

“It was actually incredible how quickly it changed my body.”

Ms Lisle says because the classes are enjoyable, she doesn’t find her pole routine hard to commit to.

“I’m probably doing about five hours a week at the moment at the studio, and maybe about an hour at home as well, ” she says.

“It’s great to be able to find some exercise that isn’t a chore, that’s something you actually enjoy.”

Although the exercise is challenging and can be hard on your body, Ms Lisle says women of all ages attend classes. She doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.

“People might have the perception that it’s just a bunch of 17-year-old girls, but it’s not, ” she says.

“It’s encouraging to see there’s lots of people down there who have been doing it a lot longer than me, and are older than me that, are able to keep going at a reasonably high level.

“It’s great to know that it’s something I could do in the long-term and not something I’m going to have to quit in two years — I can’t see it fizzling out.”

© The West Australian

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