After our last article I hope that you have been adding in some walking into your weekly routine. It was great to share the things that have worked for myself and my family throughout the festive season in the past.
Today’s topic is core strength:
Did you know that your core is all the way from your shoulders to your knees? Often, we think that our core is our abs however it’s important to know for our body to move functionally we need the entire body to operate as one. We could even argue to say it’s from our toes to our head.
3 of the many ways to “Improve your Core Strength”
1. Use more all-body exercises that recruit everything from at least your knees to your shoulders but even from your toes to your shoulders (check out the workout link / QR Code).
2. Belly Breathing… breathing to the diaphragm activates your multifidus muscle which is what some people call the Christmas Tree Muscle as it runs from our Iliac Crest to each vertebra up our spine. By learning to breath to our belly and use our diaphragm you will start to strengthen your multifidus muscle too – giving you a stronger more stable spine. Box breathing is a great way to start, and it could be as short as 2 second inhale, 2 second hold, 2 second exhale, 2 second hold – and repeat for up to 5 minutes. You can build this up to 7 seconds in each phase however you do not want to be struggling to hold your breath in the hold phase so ensure you are comfortable in each phase of the breath. Preference is nasal breathing in and out of the nose however if you struggle to get the breath into the belly through the nose you can breathe in your mouth like you are breathing in through a straw. However, over time you want to get yourself to only be breathing through the nose for this. If you struggle with nose breathing, try zipping your lips when walking around the supermarket and see how long you can do it – eventually it can just become habit. Nasal breathing is also a great way to filter our body from germs too. Fact: nose is for breathing mouth is for eating.
3. Mobilise and strengthen your hip area as a large percentage of your core strength comes from mobile and strong hips. You can start by foam rolling your glutes (your butt) on a foam roller and trying this workout below.
Here is a link to a little tri-set (3 exercises) you can do at home to build core / spine stability and strength plus shoulder stability and glute activation. Try for 3-4 rounds of this workout and avoid it if it causes you any discomfort.