healthy core, happy life

Is Your Core the Key to Your Health And Happiness?

Butterflies in my stomach, shaken to my core, gut feeling–ever thought about why we have so many expressions related to our core?

Our core is the essence of our existence. It rules our digestion. When we are able to properly digest AND assimilate what we eat, think AND feel, we remain healthy. The proper digestion AND assimilation of what we eat, think AND feel is how Eastern medicine views health. When this process breaks down, the door to disease opens. For those of you who prefer allopathic research to believe these points, consider this: about 90% of serotonin, a “happiness” hormone is produced in our gut, not in our head. When our gut doesn’t manufacture enough of this hormone, our head will be foggy.

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4 Health Hacks for Your Core

Strengthen your core, ignite your digestion and get your mind right with these 4 habits:

1. Get hollow

The hollow body position is one of the foundational conditioning drills in gymnastics. It teaches you how to integrate every part of your body and helps sculpt strong core muscles.

Lie on your back. Pull your naval towards your spine and bring your lower back to touch the floor. There should be no space between your spine and the floor so if I tried to slide my hand under your spine, I couldn’t. If you have lower back disc problems, please be mindful or avoid this exercise altogether.

Your core is firing. Squeeze your glutes, legs and feet together, and point your toes. Arms are by your sides. Curl up your torso, while reaching the arms forward as much as you can. You’re creating a C-shaped curve with your upper torso. Chin stays neutral. Pause to feel your chest curling up into the letter “C”, front body contracting, arms reaching forward; glutes, legs and feet squeezing together and toes pointing. Lift your feet up, while keeping the rest of your body unaffected by this move. Hold this position or rock 10 times.

If you choose to rock, keep your hollow body position, and bring your chest higher and feet lower. Then, bring your feet higher and chest lower. You create this rocking motion by alternating which part of your body (upper or lower) elevates and lowers. Just like how you would rock a boat – your middle section remains strong, integrated and unaffected by the rocking action. As soon as you feel an arch in your lower back, release to the floor and start over.

2. Twist for better digestion

Twists target the mid-section of your body, the place of your small intestine. If you do them right. Twist from your core, not from your hips. First, pull your belly in and lift your arms up, while lengthening the spine. Keep your core active and from that point, twist to the right. You may lower your arms or extend them to the sides. Your hips are still facing forward. Take a breath in as you raise your arms over head in the twist. Exhale as you twist to come back to center, releasing the arms. Repeat this exercise on the other side.

3. Meditate for a calm, focused mind

When you’re experiencing anxiety, you’re worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet – you’re living in the future. When you’re experiencing frustration, you’re concerned about something that happened in the past – you’re living in the past. The goal of meditation in this case is to embrace the present. I’ve written a lot about the “why, how and what” of meditation so in this blog, I’d like to share a visualization technique to help let go of stress, worries and frustration.

4. Eat well

Eating well is my description of how, when and what to eat. The way we eat and how we combine foods can help or hurt our digestion. Knowing how our body naturally reacts to certain foods and certain meal times can be a great asset for overall health management. For example, read about why lunch should be our biggest meal, and learn more about healthy eating habits, and gut-friendly kitchen herbs and dishes here.

If you’re looking to bring more health and happiness into your life, please drop me a note.

Want to bring cutting-edge health and productivity research and tools to your employees? Let’s talk.

Image by Lorenzo S., freeimages.com

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