Most of us pay a lot of attention to the size and shape of our hips, thighs and tummies by dieting, exercising or just plain worrying! We want to have a waistline which not only looks good but which is often seen as a sign of overall fitness. Why is that? What’s going on underneath our belts?
Our waistlines are held in shape by the abdominal muscles and those of the back. Together they act like a natural girdle which supports the spine, keeps our bodies upright and our backs trouble-free. These muscles play an essential part in:
- maintaining good posture
- making breathing more efficient by opening out the space needed for our lungs to expand
- keeping our bodies steady during movement
- being the centre of power from which movement can take place
That’s a lot more valuable than just making us look good! Exercises to strengthen abdominal and back muscles are an essential part of a FLexercise class. Regular exercise will improve the mobility and strength of the muscles of the spine, will prevent back pain and help recovery from it. Where necessary, combined with a reduced calorie intake, it may also contribute to the achievement of a more streamlined waistline.
There’s more to this area than meets the eye, though. How much notice do we take of the pelvic floor, that bit in between? Probably only when it lets us down, to be honest. This usually happens when the bladder leaks as it is put under pressure perhaps with a cough or sneeze, when exercising, playing sport vigorously or even when laughing! Stress incontinence is not a joke, however, for the nearly one in three women who suffer from it at some point in their lives. The muscles of the pelvic floor will have been stretched extensively during childbirth and may even need stitching after the baby is born. After the menopause the muscles tend to lose their elasticity so the need to maintain muscle tone becomes even more important.
Simply explained, the pelvic floor provides a muscular, sling-like base to the pelvis. A ‘fit’ pelvic floor should be firm and pliable, supporting the uterus, bladder and bowel. Regular exercise will help to strengthen the muscles, to regain and maintain their tone.
Out of sight, out of mind it might be, but the pelvic floor needs to be exercised as regularly as the more obvious abdominal and back muscles. Why not let a FLexercise teacher help you? Attending classes will ensure that you do the exercises regularly enough to make a difference… back, front and in between. Much better than just worrying!