BATD ON Dec 11, 2013 AT 12:43 pm

by Annie Vischer

Bodyism Diaries: Week 6

One of the concepts that recurs most in my Bodyism sessions is that of the core. The starting point for each of the exercises will involve thinking about your core, and engaging. A large part of starting out with Bodyism training is learning what your core is, how to engage it and recognise when it is being worked properly.

The core muscles are mostly layered underneath the muscles that are visible in shape from the outside of the body.  The more developed your core muscles are, the better your body will be able to respond and cope with the demands you place on it. Taking care of your core muscles and core strength will improve your physical health in later life.

Developing your core muscles will leave you less predisposed to injury. To give an example, weak core muscles will often cause people to slouch whilst seated, and if you have a 9-5 office job, being seated will take up an awful lot of your day. This constant strain will cause a shift in the natural alignment of the spine, which will in turn place pressure on the spinal column and the muscles around it. The muscles will then adapt to the position and pressure and become imbalanced, leading chronic back problems, pain and injury over time. If you concentrate on working your core muscles through exercise, and engaging your core muscles during the day, you will sit up straighter in your seat and the natural alignment of the spine will be retained.

The concentration on core muscles in my Bodyism sessions is not only there to increase my strength and tone more effectively, but to contribute to my general well-being. I took the opportunity to quiz Bodyism Performance Specialist Rebecca Gentry on the importance of the core.

What is the core? - Your core is a group of muscles in your midsection which wok together to help posture, balance and strength. The major muscles of the core are your Pelvic Floor, Multifidus (spinal area), Rectus Abdominis (front), Erector Spinae (mid back), Diaphragm, Transversus Abdominus (front stomach area), Quadratus Lumborum (lower back area) and obliques (sides)!


How can you engage your core? - You pull your stomach towards your spine and roll your hips under your torso. Keeping your shoulders back also will help you keep your core engaged and taut.

Are there any tips that can help you recognise when your core is engaged? - You’ll feel taller! You’re stomach will appear flatter! It will be hard work for the first few sessions to keep it engaged!

What difference does engaging your core make when exercising? - It helps keep your posture correct and helps you work the muscles of your core-strong core muscles support a healthy and strong straight back, and aid you in everyday activities such as lifting.

What  tasks/activities can you increase the effectiveness of by engaging your core? - Everything!

Since starting my Bodyism sessions I have found myself to be far more core-conscious in every day life. Whilst on the cross trainer at the gym, rather than completely zoning out to whatever music channel is playing, I always make sure I engage my core, imagining that I am pulling my tummy button right through to my back. The difference this makes to training is incredible, the workout becomes more intense and the pay-off in terms of abdominal muscle tone is entirely motivating. For the perfect combination of core-engaging exercises look no further than the Clean & Lean Diet Book (£12.00), and grab yourself a Bodyism Exercise Band (£12.00).

Don’t let it stop at the gym though! Engage your core when you are running up the stairs, engage your core whilst sitting at your desk, engage your core when you stretch in the morning. Engage, engage, engage! You will tone today, and the positive effects as time goes on will be just as rewarding. You can look forward to being more than a little smug I am certain!

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