Your "core" muscles are the ones in your back, sides, pelvis, and buttocks. Strengthening them improves balance and power and cuts down on belly fat. Doing basic movements like sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts, squats, and lunges can reduce your risk of a bad fall and will help you in your other exercises, like running or swimming.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.