The Fitness Zone

Beyond Abs: The Role of Core and Hormones in Female Balance and Stability

Feb 28, 2023 | by Clare Hozack

Did you know that your core muscles and hormones can have a significant impact on your balance? As we age, deterioration in balance is common and can be caused by a variety of factors. But understanding how your core and hormones influence this process can help you take steps to maintain your balance and prevent falls.


You can think of the core as your body’s foundation. It consists of a few muscle groups, including;

  • Rectus abdominis (“abs”) at the front of your abdomen
  • Internal and external obliques, in the front and side of the abdomen
  • Transversus muscles that run horizontally across your lower abdomen
  • Erector spinae, the large muscles on either side of your spine
  • The muscles surrounding your scapulae (shoulder blades)
  • The gluteus muscles in your hips and buttocks
  • The iliopsoas and quadratus lumborum muscles in your pelvis.
  • The pelvic floor & diaphragm

It’s important to understand that your core muscles are much more than just your abs. While sit-ups are a popular exercise for strengthening the abdominal muscles, they alone will not train your core to be reactive and stable. Your core is made up of a complex network of muscles, including your back muscles, obliques, pelvic floor, and diaphragm, which provide stability and connectivity throughout your entire trunk. Without a strong, mobile, reactive, and stable core, your legs and arms may not move well, which can affect movements in your daily life and even in the gym. To truly strengthen your core, it’s important to focus on exercises that engage all of these muscles, such as planks, bridges, and bird dogs. By doing so, you’ll improve your overall stability and mobility, allowing you to move more efficiently in all aspects of your life.


A strong and mobile core is key to maintaining good posture, stability, and balance. Training your body to move in new and challenging ways can greatly benefit your core strength and overall balance, especially in older populations. Incorporating exercises that challenge your balance into your workout routine can help keep your core strong and your balance sharp. Exercises that disrupt your center of gravity, such as standing on one leg while moving your arm, require significant effort from both your body and brain to maintain stability and prevent falls. Your core serves as the crucial link between your hands and feet in these movements. Engaging in gym activities that challenge your center of gravity can help improve your balance, which translates to better stability in your daily activities outside of the gym.

Women are 40% more likely to suffer insomnia than men

Vital to the body’s core, the pelvic floor is responsible for supporting the organs in your lower torso, creating the foundation for balance, stability, and deep-felt strength. Studies have shown that a weak pelvic floor can impact your ability to maintain good posture, stability, and balance. This can be especially challenging for women during pregnancy and postpartum recovery when the pelvic floor is under additional strain.


Pelvic floor dysfunction can manifest in various ways, and seeking professional advice from a Women’s Health Physio is crucial if you experience any concerns or symptoms. By prioritizing the health of your pelvic floor and other core muscles, you can improve your overall stability, balance, and posture, enhancing your quality of life. Here are a few common symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction:

  • Leaking urine when lifting, coughing, sneezing, laughing or running
  • Need to go the the toilet frequently/not making it to the toilet in time
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder or bowel
  • Lower back pain
  • Pelvic pain / sense of heaviness in the vagina
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • A prolapse


Hormones can impact balance in different ways. Increased estrogen levels can lower blood sugar levels and cause dizziness, while high progesterone levels can lead to faintness and loss of balance. Knowing your menstrual cycle can help identify patterns of imbalance during training. Low progesterone levels can also contribute to clumsiness and balance issues. Additionally, prostaglandins released during pregnancy and menstruation can affect hearing and balance, making women more susceptible to pain and less stable during sudden changes in direction or level.

Hormonal changes during menopause can cause heart palpitations (where the heart appears to skip a bit or beat faster) and irregular heartbeats, which may lead to dizziness and affect balance(4). Some studies and health professionals have found links between hormones and vestibular disorders(5), including inner ear symptoms like vertigo, tinnitus, aural fullness, ear pressure, hearing loss, and changes. Women with vestibular disorders have reported experiencing discrete episodes of vertigo, general imbalance, and/or disequilibrium due to hormonal changes.

The body is a complex and interrelated system, and balance is influenced by many factors, including muscles, hormones, and body parts. No single factor works in isolation, and all elements must be considered when trying to improve balance.

Interested in more?

Charlie is our go-to trainer for balance rehab, and is the author of our 6-Step Restore Your Balance course series for personal trainers. PTs can get 50% off the Restore Your Balance Series Bundle from Into You with the code: I2U50OFF. Enrol here:


*Tim S, Mazur-Bialy AI. The Most Common Functional Disorders and Factors Affecting Female Pelvic Floor. Life (Basel). 2021 Dec 14;11(12):1397. doi: 10.3390/life11121397. PMID: 34947928; PMCID: PMC8704638.

Clare Hozack

Clare Hozack

A former athlete and strength and conditioning coach, Clare applies this experience to her work training and educating pre- and post natal women to help them develop ‘next level’ fitness for parenting. A trainer with IntoYou studio on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, she is also the Australian and NZ Master Trainer for Burrell Education, which delivers a range of women’s health and pregnancy-related courses. You can download Burrell Education’s free Pre-Screening tools for pregnant women here and post natal women here. /

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