A fully functioning core comes from working the muscles frequently and in a variety of ways. Conventional abdominal workouts don’t challenge the core dynamically. Sit ups, crunches and planks move or hold the tension in just one way and cause a huge amount of intra-abdominal pressure, which is not what women want if they have weakened core as this can lead to a whole host of problems from chronic back and pelvic pain to prolapse of the pelvic organs.
We sit down for a huge amount of time in our daily lives. We live in a culture that requires that we sit down to eat and relax on the sofa. When it comes to core strength, the amount of time we sit has limited the function of the abdominal muscles, much more than a lack of abdominal exercise has.
So how often DO you sit every day? This is a good indicator to show you if you need to change your daily sitting habits.
Answer the following questions in minutes. The answers should relate to an average day
|Commute time to and from work|
|Commute time for kids to after-school activities|
|Riding a bike|
|Sitting at work|
|Sitting eating breakfast, lunch and dinner|
|Using the internet or computer (not at work)|
|Other sitting time (reading, playing instruments, sewing, knitting, toilet, crafting etc.)|
|Add all the numbers above to give your total sitting time|
|Calculate the amount of time you sleep, laze in bed etc|
|Subtract the above number from 1440 (the total number of minutes in a day)|
1440 – Bedtime minutes = Amount of daily available ‘moving’ time
1440 – _____ = ______
This final value is the amount of waking time you have in a day. This period of time is where you could be (and would be) moving through numerous body positions if movements were still necessary for survival (think of our cave women ancestors).
If you divide you’re total minutes sitting by your number of daily moving minutes, and multiply by 100. You will have the percentage of each day you spend in almost the exact same position.
From this you have worked out that you spend _____ % every day sitting! This means you are not using your core muscles dynamically (a way that would utilise them in many different directions, with many different loads, and result in well-balanced muscle mass).
Slouching into a chair or even into your spine is your body’s way of conserving energy, but because we sit so much and because there are almost no movements required of our body in a modern technology- based society, we end up with deteriorating tissues in our mid-section (our core).
- Sit near the front of your chair and move your pelvis into neutral (your hips and pelvic bone are vertical).
- Take the hump out of your upper back by straightening your vertebrae and lifting your chin up and bringing your head back to rest upon your neck and shoulders as opposed to jutting out in front of them.
- Keep your ribcage down to help engage the core.
- Every time you take a seat don’t be tempted to use the back support, adjust your pelvis and middle back and drop your ribs.
- If you have to sit, change the way you sit, cross your legs, sit on your heels, bring your legs out in front of you on the floor or in a V position but remember the points above.
Look for ways to reduce sitting time;
- Consider eating meals standing up
- Lie on the floor and stretch whilst watching TV
- Kneel or stand when folding laundry
- If you take public transport consider standing for some or all of the journey
- Walk instead of driving, or drive partway and walk the rest.
- Stand at your computer for some of the time during your work day, convert your workstation so that the keyboard and computer are higher and try standing for 10-20 minutes in each hour.