There are certain factors that can cause abdominal muscles to stop functioning well. Pregnancy, abdominal surgery, bad posture, lower back pain, being overweight, and improper abdominal exercises are some of the main reasons for weakness.
Many people associate the core with an image of toned 6-pack abs, but that is an incomplete picture. Your core muscles go way beyond just your abs; they have many responsibilities, from stabilizing your spine to transferring force from one part of your body to another. Your core is involved in almost every movement in your body, which is why focusing on connecting with your core will make it easier for you to do many daily, physical activities.
Strengthening and stabilizing the core is incredibly important, especially for women who’ve had children. You may also need to focus on your core if you suffer from lower back pain, poor posture, poor bladder control, and even sexual dysfunction. Slow and steady definitely wins the race when it comes to restoring your core, and working with a fitness professional and even a pelvic floor physio is imperative.
To connect and engage your core throughout the day, it’s important to do a few key things that many people don’t even think about:
Visualize your core muscles working. Use this visualization to identify what good form feels like and consciously maintain this form. (This may take time and practice, but the more you think about using the core, the more aware of it you will become).
Take a deep breath in and stand tall. As you exhale, relax your shoulders and neck, but keep your chest up, and pelvis directly below your ribcage.
Try to think about standing and sitting tall as much as you can. It feels strange at first, but the more that you do this, the more aware you will be when you are slouching or standing in a position that could potentially hurt your back.
If you suffer from any of the symptoms described above, especially as a post-partum mom, and want to learn more, you should check out Julia's Adore Your Core free 3-day mini training in her Facebook community, the Fit Femmes of North Jersey (http://www.facebook.com/groups/fitfemmes101). Join the group for a chance to win an amazing giveaway!