By: Kou Yang
Most people don’t realize that something as simple as breathing can be compromised if we don’t have a strong inner core. Inner core muscles are comprised of the diaphragm, multifidus, transverse abdominis, and the pelvic floor. These four major muscles keep us sitting up straight, standing upright, and most importantly moving while breathing correctly.
Breathing is such an important aspect in the body’s ability to adapt to movement, as every living cell in our body needs oxygen, especially muscle tissue. The first step to initiate a breath doesn’t start with the lungs, but the diaphragm. People often have the misconception that breathing starts with the chest. To examine if someone is breathing correctly, ask them to put one hand on the abdomen and one hand on the chest and take a deep breath in. The abdomen should protrude the bottom hand outward further than the hand on the chest. This is how we virtually see that diaphragm is contracting. Most people are not aware that diaphragmatic breathing supports a higher capacity for oxygen absorption. When someone’s breathing is incorrect, their posture is also misaligned. Their head will fall forward past the shoulder line and the upper body will be in a slouched position. If uncorrected through time, the normal reflex of the diaphragm becomes less attentive and the inner core weakens. This is another reason why many people can hardly sit upright with proper posture.
When we examine our core, we see that it houses internal organs as well many groups of muscles and joints. Our core makes up the solid foundation upon which our spinal column sits. It provides a safe stabilization as we bend forward, backwards, and sideways with our body. A strong inner core also prevents injury and enhances athletic performance.
At Woodbury Spine Wellness Center, we are one of the few facilities that teach postural exercises. We train our patients to do wobble chair exercises that cover all inner core bodily movements. The goal is to gain flexibility, strength and proper breathing. Come see our doctors, posture experts, and functional fitness trainers, who will coach you in achieving the best results in retaining an upright posture.