How is breathing important for core strength? The diaphragm (which plays an important role in breathing) is part of the deep core muscles that help us stabilize and regulate pressure in our body. The deep core muscles work together synergistically to provide a foundation from which we can move fluidly. This includes the pelvic floor. Yes, the pelvic floor is a part of our core! And most importantly, we can use our breath to activate our deep core stabilizing muscles, thereby protecting our pelvic floor.
Exhaling to Feel the Core
Try something for me. Put your hands on your belly, a few inches away from your belly button and a bit lower than the belly button. Keep your fingers firmly in this spot. Take an inhale, and then exhale and "SHHH" loudly as if you are telling someone in a crowded library to be quiet.
Do you feel a depression of the muscles, especially at the end of the exhale? This exhale will elicit core tightness and a lifting of the pelvic floor muscles. Once you can learn to activate and engage these lower abdominal muscles, you can use them throughout your day to help stabilize and support your body. I often tell my clients to tighten these core muscles before they stand up from a sitting position. This simple act of engaging these supportive muscles as we transfer out of our chairs can not only support our lower back back but help to reduce pressure on our pelvic floor.