There's lots of reasons we pull our stomach in (actually it is more like in and up most of the time). There is a perception that a flat stomach looks more attractive and that it is the key to a strong and healthy body. Unfortunately though, it actually inhibits the ability of the muscles to work optimally and creates tensions that promote poor alignment and pelvic floor tension.
We will test this for ourselves today. Lining up our key alignment points and then sucking our belly in to see and feel what happens. Did your tailbone tuck? Did your head come forward and your knees bend. Did you feel the forces you had inadvertently created?
When you suck everything in it has to go somewhere. Where exactly is an individual thing, but here are some possibilities:
- It might have gone up (which makes it hard to breathe well, impacting upon your diaphragm).
- It might have pushed back into your spine (which your discs will not be thrilled about).
- It might have been pushed down onto your pelvic organs (which can create pressures in the pelvic floor that can lead to disorders here).
- It might have been pushed outwards into the skeletal like, connective tissue framework that connects your ribcage to your pelvis (known as your Linea Alba). This can lead to issues such as abdominal separation and hernias.
One thing is certain, this situation can challenge your digestive system, cause constipation, contribute to cramping and other issues with the reproductive system, impact on your breathing and lead to alignment based inflammation and joint degradation.
Let it Go
So catch yourself sucking it in at least 50 times a day and see if you can let it go. A little arch and release (sitting, standing - doesn't matter) can really help. Ask yourself, can I let it go more, can I let it go more, can I let it go even a little bit more?
So Core Strength Isn't Important?
Actually it is, but it isn't necessarily what we might have always thought it was. A lot of the exercises we do thinking we are strengthening our core can actually be creating the pressures that exacerbate the problems mentioned above. Alignment is your best core strengthener, and we'll talk more about that next week.
Great Clip from Barbara Loomis for TV Watching Idea
People often ask me how should I watch TV? Well Barbara Loomis (Restorative Exercise Specialist) has a great variation! Looks good to me. It's moving more and in more ways we are after. You could cycle through a bunch of exercises from your daily movement multivitamin sheet and a psoas release or 3.