What if we were to tell you that you could strengthen your core without even thinking about it? Sounds good, right? No more guilt from not doing your physio/chiropractor/PT homework. Try these 5 tips next time you go for a stroll…
1. Walk tall
Visualise a piece of string on top of your head pulling you upwards. Roll your shoulders back and down and maintain a neutral spine. When you slouch and roll forward, the muscles of your deep abdominals take the cue to chill out and take a breather. Fire them up and get them back to work by keeping your posture in check and walking tall.
2. Swing your arms
Okay, not like Rachel from ‘Friends’ swinging your arms, but by pumping your arms as you walk, you change your centre of gravity ever so slightly and your core muscles will engage to help propel you forward whilst keeping your position tight.
3. Head for the hills
Walking on an incline will engage your deep abdominal muscles more than walking on the flat. Activate your core and shift your centre of gravity again, leaning slightly forward as you climb for a power boost up the hill.
4. Bring a bag
Carrying weight in one (or both) hands will place extra demands on your core muscles and you’ll need to keep fired up to keep yourself standing tall and maintain your neutral spine. If you’re carrying a bag in just one hand, be extra careful that you’re not leaning to that side by really engaging the muscles and bracing against it.
5. Take a breath
Practice breathing exercises to the rhythm of your walking pace. Try breathing in for 2 strides and out for 2 strides, and each time you take a breath out, activate your core and squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. Get into the rhythm and continue for the whole walk. Keep your breathing natural though, take too deep breaths and you’ll start to feel faint.