All Day Core

Posted by Katherine Dreyer on Tue Mar 4th, 2014, 4 comments

All Day Core

Strengthening your core does not have to mean hardcore work. As a matter of fact, it’s best if you do regular, every day, all-day, gentle core work. Core strengthening is loaded with physical benefits: better balance, easier movement, less injury, better posture, more energy, greater relaxation potential for the rest of your body, and the list goes on!

In terms of a mindful, self-remembering practice, dropping into your core is the best way to be in touch with your own self. How often are you thinking, looking and reacting to external agendas, not even feeling yourself in the process? When you focus your mind on your core several times a day, you are in touch with a deeper part of yourself, in the present moment.

Keep your core engaged lightly and gently during any and all movement: when you first get out of bed (with a gentle stretch), while walking ANYWHERE, getting into and out of your car, most definitely while you run or walk or do any kind of fitness activity, standing in line, cooking dinner, even while brushing your teeth.

Especially use your core as you sit down or get up from your chair. With all the news about how sitting is so harmful, you should be getting in and out of your chair more frequently than ever. As you do so, use your core.

Make it a game…how few muscles can you engage in any movement if your core is engaged. Feel the difference in how you move when your core is or is not consciously employed.

You are not working on gaining 6 pack abs. As a matter of fact the more you use the muscles closer to your spine, the more real benefit you’ll get. The “sit up in your chair” exercise that we teach in all our workshops gives you the sense of how much engagement is needed. Here’s the exercise. Try it right now:

Sit up straight in your chair, with your shoulders over your hips, then let your back relax back against the back rest. Sit up into your original position again and feel that light sense of tension in your abs needed to hold yourself up. It should not be much. Just a light, but deep, engagement. This is the level of engagement you want to have while you walk, run or do any movement throughout your day.

Yes, you’ll get flatter abs and look better (not a terrible reason to engage your core muscles) but even more importantly, you’ll become a better runner, a better fitness walker, and, you’ll have a more regular sense of your own presence…not bad for a little bit of mindful effort.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment below

Love your blog. The core tidbits are perfect.
Thanks for the great job!

Valorie Ryan Mar 5th, 2014 08:53am

Love the idea of engaging the core in every day activities.  I’ve been working with a PT who feels the same as you.

miguel esparza Apr 10th, 2014 09:09pm

Hi Kathrine and Danny I’m a 3 year Chi running practioner ;and so thrilled to have met and spend a day with the creator-my guru of Chi Running! I get inspiration and soo much more from your blogs and tips. They’re helpful and terrific. As I’m a mountain trail runner- please provide tips on how to engage the obliques on hills, etc. This focus is difficult for me…You and Danny are Special Earth Angels for creating and sharing CR and Living. Thank you sincerely… Miguel
ps…pass by Best Regards and another Thank You for teaching me CR to Danny. Heres a visualfor him…let him know I’m the youthful 66 y/o Vietnam vet,1-arm, sandal wearing trail runner that took CR workshop(nov 2013 SaMo CA))that was was asking for advanced oblique use tips.. since Life and Running have never been or felt soo Goood to me.  God Bless You All ways/Always

Miguel,

Thanks for the inspiring message. The oblique work is very tied into the armswing and pelvic rotation. If you get into a stagger stance and let the back leg push back with your pelvic rotation, then with shoulders square to the front push the opposite elbow back you will find yourself in a mid run stance. Look in the mirror to see how the lines are diagonal across your shirt and the elasicity and engagement of the obliques. When you are running uphill, think about using your upper body more and the legs less. Hope that helps.

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Over the past 45 years, I have trained for and run a race of one mile or longer every year but one. I worked my way up to running marathons, but in 1982 began experiencing knee pain – ultimately in both knees. 

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