Nikki Run Noosa Beach

Pic: Sam Frysteen

Fit Tip Of The Week: Always Engage Your Core 

If there is one thing you should always remember when it comes to body awareness then it’s to always engage your core.

Your abs are your power house – the centre of strength, intuition and energy.

 

Once you learn to connect your core to all your daily activities you will never look back. Running over rocks, riding a bike, sprinting, lifting weights, reaching for something or even sitting at your desk  = your abs are crucial for your ability to live actively and use the muscles we have to support our skeletal system.

What does Engage Your Core actually mean?

Have a look around you as you read this, consider your own posture and the posture of others. Are you sitting with your shoulders back and do you feel your abs switched on? Is your back straight?

In simple terms, if I was to ask you to pull your belly button towards your spine you would immediately feel a tightening of your abs and most probably, an immediate improvement in your posture. Your back would be straighter, you shoulders would want to go back and your chest would be forward. By this simple act of engaging your core you have immediately fired up your abs to be active and do their job.

Nikki Noosa HandstandA few weeks ago I wrote about the fact you are never too old for handstands. The ability to turn yourself upside down or for example  a bridge pose in yoga, is made possible by engaging your abs. The rest of your body will follow.

It’s the connection to your inner strength and that series of core muscles that can increase your potential for fitness, agility, strength and even flexibility.

Ab work is not about bouts of sit ups or crunches in the gym. It is about a daily, hourly, consistent practise of body awareness; when you know you can engage your abs and use your core in ALL your activities.

Try it out while you are presenting to a group or colleagues, stand on one leg while you are brushing your teeth and pull your belly button to your spine to add balance, walk tall and with purpose, press lightly on your abs before you commence a run or exercise to remind those muscles they are needed; and remind yourself to activate them in all that you do.

You will be surprised at the results from using your abs daily with everything you do. Those rows of incredible small and functional muscles are designed to keep us upright, to keep us centred and to help us navigate our way through physical and mental challenges.

 

It is never to late to pay attention to your inner strength, to your core and to be aware of these muscles. 6 Fun ways to get started:

  1. Put a sticky note on your laptop that says “Belly Button To Spine” or quite simply “ABS”
  2. Squeeze your abs when you reach out to shake someones hand, to reach for something or to do a simple action even at your desk
  3. Stand on one leg and alternate this to engage your core muscles while cooking or brushing your teeth or even making the kids lunches
  4. Sit up straight at your desk or the board table during a meeting, and even while driving
  5. Walk tall and be aware of your abs as you are walking around
  6. Practice cycling with no hands (try on the grass first 🙂

If you would like a couple of fun and effective ab exercises to do in between all of the above then check out the running man sit up and the classic crunch.

Keep it simple, get engaged and enjoy the feeling fantastic!

Health and Happiness

Nikki x

 

 

 

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