Breathing is essential for any kind of physical activity, and it can make all the difference in how you move and how you feel. Practicing core-focused breathing can help you develop better control over your core muscles and use them more efficiently while exercising. Here are some core-focused breathing exercises that you can add to your routine.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing is the practice of breathing deeply and consciously, filling the lungs with oxygen and pushing the abdomen out. This kind of breathing can help you become more aware of your core and strengthen it over time. To practice, start by lying down on your back. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. As you inhale, try to make sure that your stomach is pushing out more than your chest. This will allow more air to fill your lungs and activate your diaphragm. Then, as you exhale, focus on pushing all the air out until you feel like your abdomen is deflating.
- Belly Breathing
Belly breathing is a simple exercise that can help you become more aware of your core. To practice, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. As you inhale, focus on pushing your stomach out as far as you can. As you exhale, focus on drawing the stomach back in towards your spine. Do this for a few rounds and focus on becoming aware of your core and the movements it makes.
By incorporating proper breathing techniques, you will have greater control of your core and pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is an important, often overlooked group of muscles that can greatly affect your breathing and core strength. When establish efficient breathing, you can enhance core strength and have greater control of your pelvic floor.
The first step to strengthening the pelvic floor is to understand how it works. The pelvic floor is made up of two layers of muscles and is located at the base of the pelvis between the pubic bone and the tailbone. It functions like a hammock, supporting the organs of the pelvic cavity, including the bladder and rectum.
The pelvic floor muscles play an important role in controlling the flow of urine and feces, and in providing stability to the lower spine and pelvis. To strengthen the pelvic floor, it’s important to learn how to engage and relax the muscles properly.
Kegel exercises are a great way to strengthen the pelvic floor. Kegels involve the contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles, which can help promote circulation and improve muscle tone. To do a Kegel, sit or stand in a comfortable position and draw the muscles in as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold the contraction for three to five seconds, and then relax. Repeat this several times, making sure to keep the rest of your body relaxed.
Breathing techniques can be incorporated in early stages before, during and after pregnancy. This simple practice can lead to a multitude of benefits such as decreasing risk of diastasis recti, prolapse, incontinence and pelvic pain. Reach out to a pelvic floor physiotherapist for further assessments and to a Registered Kinesiologists, who specializes in pre and post-natal coaching at Longevity Nexum Barrie, Ontario, on incorporating proper breathing techniques into your regular routine, you can help keep your core and pelvic floor strong, healthy, and flexible.