There are endless core training exercises you can attempt to sculpt your midsection, but it’s really important to get the basics right before you launch yourself into endless reps of complex manoeuvres.
First and foremost, good alignment is the foundation for effective core training exercises, so that’s where the focus should start.
For many, posture presents a Catch 22: lack of core stabilisation and strength (which is particularly a problem for women who have been through pregnancy and childbirth) leads to poor posture and associated ailments like lower back pain and incontinence; but, in turn, poor posture prevents us from using our core properly every day, which is naturally strengthening.
If you’re aware of postural problems, adjusting the way you position your body, and strengthening the core, has to be done gradually. It starts with simply retraining yourself to stand, walk and lift properly, so that your core gets a gentle workout from everyday activities
Core conditioning and posture go hand in hand: Doing effective core training exercises not only improves posture, but it also decreases the likelihood of back and neck pain, incontinence, ruptured disks, muscle and ligament strains.
But you can’t run before you can walk. Literally.
So, do me a favour, check your posture. Check it now. Check it throughout the day… make sure you are optimising it constantly, making good posture slowly become habit. If your body is used to being curled up on a sofa, or slumped in a desk chair, or hunched over a buggy, it’s going to take time to unfurl it properly.
But you really need to do that before you do anything else. Proper postural alignment enables the body to perform movements more quickly, and with less joint and muscular strain.
We compromise our body hugely by not maintaining proper posture, resulting in a ripple effect of ailments as well as decreased circulation, which leads to varicose veins, muscle pain, joint pain, and many other conditions.
If your job means you sit at a desk, make sure you’re sitting properly with your chair correctly adjusted (or, even better, a standing work station), and don’t forget to get up and walk around frequently.
If you wear high-heeled shoes, seriously consider switching to flats. High heels alter your posture unnaturally and compromise your core. If you’re always clutching a iPhone and looking downwards at it, stop that!
Women are subject to many factors that make poor posture more likely – even the weight of your boobs (!), means women are more prone to rounded shoulders, forward head posture, hyper-extended knees, + increased thoracic and lumbar curves.
To make sure that you don’t succumb to these problems, start taking action to amend your alignment and strengthen your core!