Every time you put pressure through your body, be that from knowingly exercising or unwittingly as you lift your shopping out of the trolley or bend to pick up another piece of lego from the floor, you need to be protecting your core.
WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR CORE AND HOW CAN YOU DO THAT?
The core is comprised of four elements:
As you can see in the EXPANSION PHASE – when you BREATH IN/INHALE – the diaphragm descends to draw the breath in, the pelvic floor relaxes, the rib-cage expands and the abdominal wall relaxes and expands (swells).
In the COMPRESSION PHASE – when you BREATH OUT/EXHALE – the diaphragm lifts, the pelvic floor tensions and “lifts”, the rib-cage closes, the abdominal wall contracts and flattens and the thoraco-lumbar fascia and associated musculature tensions.
It is that lift and tensioning of the diaphragm, abdominal wall, pelvic floor and thoraco-lumbar fascia/muscles which protects and supports your core.
How many times have you found yourself holding your breath and actually bearing down into those vulnerable pelvic floor muscles when you are doing something strenuous. Think of all the everyday activities where you maybe inadvertently putting pressure down into your pelvic floor instead of lifting away – this is exactly when those leaky moments get the better of you. Keep doing it and those leaky moments could become a pelvic organ prolapse – not good at all.
HOW CAN YOU IMPROVE YOUR INTRINSIC CORE SYNERGY®
IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE
Incorporate stretches into your routine that will stretch tight tissues and allow the body to adopt a more optimal posture to enable optimal breathing patterns and core recruitment.
If you have any abdominal scars (new or old) these will most likely require hands on soft tissue work to reduce adhesions and increase connectivity.
IMPROVE YOUR BREATHING PATTERNS
The breath drives the core and the pelvic floor, and you breathe approximately 20,000 times a day, correcting faulty breathing patterns will optimise your core function. Not only that the breath is deeply restorative and nourishing for your body, as well as helping you to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system to find calm in this crazy world!
OPTIMISE YOUR NUTRITION AND HYDRATION
Feed your body to promote healing, hormone balance and tissue quality, staying away from foods that promote inflammation.
EXHALE ON EXERTION
You can see from the breathing image above, that if you take a breath in and hold your breath, you will create pressure within the core. This is not an effective stabilising strategy and has the potential to cause injury to the abdominal wall, the lumbar spine and the pelvic floor. So if you want to protect your core and your continence, whether it’s doing simple tasks at home or more strenuous things in the gym – you need to use the "EXHALE" when you are exerting yourself.
In class we use: