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Our top tips for keeping a strong core

By Bec Morley IN Move

So, it seems those often dreaded ab workouts are in fact, well worth it, mums. Try to imagine any full body movement and I can guarantee that it will rely on your core strength to some degree. From running around playing with the kids, doing the gardening and even mopping up your little one’s meal (that once again, ended up on the floor rather than in their mouth!), your core is at the centre of it all. Increasing the strength of your core will not only make these tasks less of a strain, but will help reduce the risk of back injury and improve your overall balance. 

Now, before I go any further, the most important thing to realise is: strong core does not necessarily = 6 pack. You can absolutely have a strong, healthy core without having ripped abs, so don’t be discouraged by this common misconception!

Now we’ve cleared that up, you’re also probably thinking: okay, this is all well and good, but how do I actually keep my core strong? And when can I possibly fit in ANOTHER workout while juggling the challenging task of motherhood and everything else that life brings? 

Well mums, no need to panic. Core exercises are arguably one of the easiest exercises to work into your current exercise routine and even into your day to day life. In fact, you’re probably already doing a lot more for your core than you realise. 

Engaging the Core

First thing’s first though, engaging the core. It may sound simple but it is quite common to practice core exercises and fail to activate the core properly, which can sometimes result in back injury. Once you master how to engage the muscles in your core and recognise what this feels like, you can work on your core strength anytime, anywhere – yep, even while sitting in the car on the way to drop your little one off at kinder or while lying in bed after another long day of being an awesome mum! This skill will totally change your whole workout experience.

Try This…

An effective way of observing how it feels to activate your abdominal muscles, is to firstly lie down on your back with your heels on the floor and knees bent. From here, place your hands just below your belly button and just above your hip bones. Try coughing, or producing an ‘HA!’ sound, and observe your lower abs tighten. Become familiar with how this feels, as this should be what happens any time you engage and work your abs.

Here are a few of the many ways we can keep our core strong while also keeping up with the hectic life of being a mum:

Online yoga

If you’ve been making the most of our amazing selection of online yoga classes (if you haven’t, you really should check them out here ;-)), then you’ve probably been getting a good core workout! Remember to keep your core tight during the movements to work your core strength. For instance, the transition between downward dog into a plank is a great opportunity to really work your core strength by keeping your core muscles engaged.

30-second planks

It’s a busy life being a mum, but adding in 30 seconds of exercise here and there throughout the day doesn’t sound too bad. Why not try adding in a 30-second plank at any time throughout the day? Perhaps at the end of your yoga session, just before you hop into bed or you could even drop and plank in the kitchen while you’re waiting for the oven to warm up to cook dinner! Planks can be completed on your knees if you’re a beginner, or on your toes if you’d like more of a challenge – you could also increase the time if you want a bigger challenge! Remember to keep those muscles tightened and if you feel any back pain stop immediately. 

While on the job…

For all you hardworking mums in office jobs, you can work on your core strength right at your desk! Engage your core and alternate between lifting each of your legs up slowly, keeping the knee bent, and then lowering back down. 

End with a bang

Commit to adding a couple of minutes of core focused exercise to the end of all your workouts and you’ll notice a big difference. Time wise, two minutes doesn’t take away too much additional time from the hectic mum schedule, but the benefits you will gain are huge! 

Good luck ladies – you all already have enormous amounts of strength from being wonderful mums, so we know you will smash this too!

Bec Morley

Bec is an Associate Nutritionist and Personal Trainer on a mission to inspire, motivate and educate about healthy whole food diets and fitness. She believes in the non-diet approach and is passionate about enjoying a wide variety of whole foods in her own diet. She hopes to share her love for food and show mothers how to have a positive relationship with all foods while maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

Bec’s personal training is aimed at women’s weight maintenance, general fitness and well-being. Similar to her nutrition beliefs, she aims to inspire mothers to to find satisfaction and enjoyment in being active. She wholeheartedly believes we can all find the joy in movement and that there is something out there for everyone.

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