What do we mean by ‘The Core’?
So many times we hear this term bandied around and I know I use it ALL THE TIME in classes and sessions!
“I want to strengthen my core”
“engage your core”
“my osteo says I need to work on my core”
“I’m doing Pilates to work my core”
But what is ‘the core’ and what is it for?
Essentially, your core supports you and gives power to all your movements. It supports and protects the organs that it surrounds and the joints and bones that are attached to it. For a simple image, take a look at this:
So basically, the 4 labelled components of the ‘Core’ are shown above in yellow and the dark grey line of the Abdominal Wall.
Isolating your tummy muscles isn’t the most effective way to work your ‘core’ because, as you can now see, those muscles do not work in isolation – they work together with a whole load of other muscles and connective tissue.
Perhaps you can now see why a strong core = a strong back = a flatter tummy = a non-leaky pelvic floor?
For mummies, this means a body that can lift her baby, pull the car seat out of the car, reach and grab a toddler from legging it across the road, lift the pushchair off the bus and jump to the songs in her toddler’s singing class without leaking wee. All in a day’s work right?!
Oh, and by the way, these muscles work properly when you breathe mindfully; they switch on when you exhale.
Try this: sitting properly (come on – stop slouching…!), breathe out and draw your belly button in. You should feel a tightening in the front part of your pelvic floor. If you’re very body aware, you may also feel a change in tension in your lower back too. This is your core working!
This is why, in every class, I am banging on about mindful breathing, exhaling as you lift. Not just in the class….. every time you lift, every time you exert and move your body. Oh, and along the way, you might just get a better looking tummy as well as a pain free back and non leaky pelvic floor!