Realign to define
Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about movement and how to move more easily and freely.
I want to be able to realign to define – define what – my muscle tone and this is not going to be possible if we are all bunched up and not using our body more effectively.
Have you ever wondered why you are just not getting definition?
Do you spend hours at the gym?
Do you do the same workouts week in, week out with little variety?
So here’s the truth, if you don’t add variety to your workouts on a regular basis your body will get stuck in the same old movement patterns and rather than move more easily, you will start to move less.
By staying more tense in certain areas of your body, this will not enable your muscles to work as they should so that you can get that desired definition (bear in mind though that nutrition plays a large part in this too!)
What does your workout do for you?
Does it enable you to do your daily activities better?
Are you doing a half hour abs class and just doing sit ups the whole time?
How is that helping your body?
Do you ever think about this. How does it help it to realign itself after a day hunched over your desk?
Sit ups tend to work against the natural curve of your lower back.
I’ve heard people chat saying I do loads of sit ups but my belly still isn’t flat. Well it won’t be will it.
Right now, flatten your lower back by drawing in your stomach – what happens to it, your stomach gets all folded up and bulges.
Your abdominals are like a tensile bridge connecting the upper to lower body enabling support, stability and power.
We should think of using our abdominals more like an elastic band that gets pulled part and then comes back together slowly without pinging back at you.
When we train we should look at how we can use our abdominals to resist motion, which is their fundamental purpose as well as how we can use them to generate power.
Think of how we swing a tennis racket for a serve if it helps and how the hand goes back and over the head so you feel like you are stretching your abdominals.
The trunk rotates, the hips rotate forward for power from the swing then the abs help to generate power as you strike the ball in your serve over the net.
Really to help realign and define we need to look at how to use our body to its full potential which is not just all about the abs!
So let’s look at five things we can do easily to realign and define:-
- Learn to breathe more effectively. Your diaphragm is in the centre of your body attaching to your breast bone, lower ribs and lower back. Take your hand on your chest and stomach and breathe.Notice what rises and falls and start to try and exhale more slowly. When you inhale don’t gasp it in, be gentle and see if you can avoid tension in the neck and shoulders. Mastering more effective breathing will be your first step to trying to release tension in your body so that it can realign and define.
- Reconnect with your body. Lie down and give yourself a body scan. Assess from your toes to the hair on top of your head how you are feeling. Then slowly and steadily try to move your toes, and work your way up your body. Notice what moves easily and what doesn’t. Notice where you hold tension when you try to move and see if you can relax other areas of your body that might be reacting to you moving.
- Still laying down start with leg slides and see if you can keep your pelvis level so you avoid flattening your lower back into the floor. Then bring in arm movement and see if you can continue to keep the centre of your body stable as you move arms and legs. Remember the centre is helping you to resist motion as its first function. When you are able to do this, then you can progress to more challenging moves, ultimately heading towards athletic power moves.
- Try and use both sides of your body. Don’t always step up on your right leg, go with the left first. Don’t always exercise on your dominant side first, go with the weaker as your first batch of exercise is usually the best when it comes to working asymmetrically. Try and use your left hand as well as your right when picking things up. If you are in your 40s and have spent nearly the whole 40 years always doing things with your right hand, there will be imbalances and tensions preventing you realigning and defining your body.
- Give your eyes a daily workout. Forward head posture, looking at iphones, ipads, you name it is becoming a huge problem impacting your spinal health and how you move and also impacting vision. More youngsters are becoming short sighted because they are not giving their eyes a workout. You need to look up regular, away from iphones, PCs and allow your eyes to adjust to long distance. Get out, take a walk and keep looking ahead rather than at the ground the whole time.
Easy stuff really, but things that could seriously improve how well your body moves. See if you can do at least one of these suggestions each day then by the end of the working week, you will have achieved all five. Not that difficult really is it.
(Ref: Movement Matters, Katy Bowman)
Have a great week ahead xx