Should you do crunches?

Should you be doing crunches? This is definitely a controversial topic.

Let me first start with I was obsessed with the core starting from my early 20s. I was interested in how we could stabilize our spines properly while preventing low back pain and other injuries, while also generating as much force as possible. This led me to understand more about deep core stabilizers. They include your diaphragm, pelvic floor, transverse abdominis (your natural weight belt), psoas, and the multifidus. All of these have to work together as an integrated unit.  

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Are crunches bad?

Well, we have to get out of bed in the morning. We have to be able to flex our spines. In order to perform a crunch, we have to recruit our global core muscles. In order to do that without eventually getting injured, it is necessary to stabilize first. Stability is defined as timing, sequencing, and coordination. 

How do we reinforce this optimal stabilization before mobilization, i.e., a crunch?

How to perform crunches

1. Breathe

In order to have proper stabilization, we have to have optimal diaphragmatic breathing.

We need to inhale through our nose and breathe all the way down to the base of the core to allow this intra-abdominal pressure to build up 360 degrees. That allows our transverse abdominis, your natural weight belt, to expand and contract eccentrically. Your pelvic floor is lengthening when inhaling and as you exhale, the pelvic floor lifts, and the transverse abdominis contracts. The diaphragm goes back up to its resting position. It’s a beautiful rhythmical dance. 

2. Prevent Doming

Doming can happen from the diastasis rectus, which is the separation of the fascial structure called the linea alba. That can happen from pregnancy or from poor stability over time. Many women and men can experience this.

Doming occurs when the abdomen pops out as you are doing some type of crunch or abdominal forward bending. If you feel that popping out, that means you have to reintegrate the breath and change the movement to make sure that you are stabilizing first. 

3. Lift Up

Regardless of the type of crunch you are doing, you want to think of lifting up as opposed to just pulling your head forward. A lot of times we tend to yank on our neck, which actually just ends up being a neck exercise and not at all a core exercise. You want to seek optimal movement with proper fascial tensioning, rather than doming, breath-holding, or pulling on your neck. 

Lastly, I just want to mention a couple of things that are indicators that the core is not stabilizing well. A hernia or a sports hernia, which is also called a core muscle injury, is a perfect example of too much demand on global muscles coupled with a lack of deep intrinsic stabilization. That leads to tearing of the tissue. Both need to be surgically repaired. 

So to answer the question, are crunches bad?

It depends on how you’re doing them. If you can integrate some of the things that I spoke about today, you can actually change crunches and make sure that they’re appropriate for you. There’s always a gray area. 

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How Sugar Affects Your Pain

You probably know that sugar is not the best for you, but do you know how it’s impacting your pain and inflammation in your muscles and your joints? Sugar is, in fact, at the top of the list as one of the biggest contributors to pain. Numerous studies continue to prove that sugar promotes pro-inflammatory markers. Why is that important? Chronic low level and systemic inflammation contributes to many of the health conditions that we face. In fact, 90% of all chronic disease is associated with inflammation.

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Let’s discuss five different ways that consuming added sugars in your diet contributes to inflammation and therefore, pain.

1) Stimulates free fatty acids in the liver

When free fatty acids are digested by the body, the compounds that are released contribute to pro-inflammatory markers. 

2) Produces Advanced Glycolytic end products (AGEs)

When sugar is combined with a protein or fat in the bloodstream, oxidation or inflammation in the body occurs. 

3) Causes leaky gut

Increased sugar intake can contribute to leaky gut, also referred to as intestinal permeability. We have tight junctions in our gut that function as a protective barrier to not let toxins and pathogens move through into our bloodstream. However, in the case of leaky gut, these tight junctions break down and foreign invaders can pass through to the bloodstream. This, in turn, creates an immune response. This can also contribute to leaky brain. Leaky brain is where these pathogens, toxins, and foreign invaders cross the blood-brain barrier and can contribute to brain fog, loss of clarity, memory issues, etc. 

4) Increases LDL

When we have increased LDL from overconsumption of sugar, there is an increase in inflammatory markers, specifically C-reactive protein. 

5) Causes weight gain

Increased sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, which thereby increases your insulin resistance as well as inflammation. That can contribute to a whole cascade of other symptoms. 

In one study that was performed, the participants who drank 40 grams of added sugar a day (one soda), increased their insulin resistance, inflammation, and LDL markers. Also, consuming 50 grams of fructose within 30 minutes can increase your C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker. Lastly, 50 grams of refined carbohydrates in the form of white bread can increase your pro-inflammatory marker, niuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B), and increase blood sugar. 

Now you have a little bit of a better understanding of how sugar impacts your body, specifically inflammation, and therefore pain. If you’re in a chronic inflammatory state, you’re pain will likey be higher. Your first step in evaluating sugar is to track it. See how many grams a day you are consuming.

There is a difference between natural sugars and added and refined sugars. That doesn’t mean you need to eat six fruits a day, however. As it relates to added sugars, you want to have less than 20 grams of sugar. That means you have to think about how many grams of sugar is in your creamer, salad dressing, tomato sauce, etc. In most cases, there is high fructose corn syrup in those as well. You want to evaluate how many grams a day you’re actually getting and then begin to slowly decrease it. You don’t need to do it overnight. It is important to recognize that if you are consuming a lot of sugar, you can have a significant die-off reaction as you begin to eliminate those sugars from your diet. Just begin to slowly work them out of your diet and transform to a more natural, whole food plan.

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How to Burn More Calories During Your Day | NEAT

How to Burn More Calories During Your Day | NEAT

Did you know that you can burn almost 350 additional calories each day, which is equivalent to 30 pounds per year if you include more NEAT in your life? NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It is defined as any other type of activity that is outside of your purposeful physical training. Think of this as the energy expenditure related to the daily maintenance of your body, leisure activities, occupation, and all of the things outside of your intended physical 30 to 60 minutes at the gym.

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There are three different categories of NEAT that you can include. These include body posture variations, ambulation/locomotion, and fidgeting. We will discuss each one of these and how to include them in your daily routine.

3 Ways to Include NEAT:

1) Body Posture Variation

One of the most important things that we should all consider is to assume as many different positions and postures as possible during our day. There is no one good or bad posture. The best posture is the next posture, so you want to think about constantly changing positions. There isn’t such a thing as perfect ergonomics, it’s really about moving consistently throughout the day. Are you sitting, standing, waling, moving, and weight shifting? Are you able to sit down onto the ground and get back up? The more that we can assume different variations of postures of sitting, standing, and moving, the better. Our bodies crave movement, so let’s give them what they deserve. 

2) Ambulation or Locomotion

How can you increase your steps throughout the day? You can use a monitor to track how many steps you’re getting a day. Use that as a goal to slowly increase your steps to your day. Let’s not forget about all the locomotive patterns like crawling or skipping; any ways that you can begin to reinforce one of our most powerful movements in our body, which is walking. It is the most powerful assessment of movement efficiency. The more you can begin to increase steps and dynamic movement throughout the day, the better.

3) Fidgeting 

This can be twirling your hair, rubbing your head, or tapping your foot. If you are doing this 150 minutes a day, this can, in turn, burn 350 calories a day, which is equivalent to 30 pounds per year. Every time you’re in your chair or you’re standing at your work desk, think about how you can add a little bit of extra movement in. This will increase NEAT and can be beneficial in metabolism and your weight loss goals or maintenance. 

In today’s movement culture, we are so focused on performing 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Instead, we want to think about this from a movement mindset perspective and move most hours of each day. That begins with incorporating some of these most fundamental things like walking more, fidgeting more, and changing and assuming different positions. Once we can begin to incorporate these things, we can make such a profound difference in our movement and overall health. Once again, our bodies crave movement, they do not crave sustained positions. 

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IS YOUR GUT PREVENTING YOUR WEIGHT LOSS?

Top 5 Vagus Nerve Hacks to Help You Relax and Restore

Do you know how important the vagus nerve is?

The vagus nerve is our wandering nerve that originates from the brainstem. It is one of the longest cranial nerves and innervates the muscles of the face, throat, respiration, digestion, and heart. It has such a profound impact, and it is 80 percent of our parasympathetic nervous system. This is important because it can allow us to fully relax, restore, recover, and digest. It can also help us become socially engaged, connected to the greater world, connected to ourselves, and be more mindful, joyful, and grounded.

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Here are five vagus nerve hacks that you can do to bring you back to this parasympathetic state; to the state of relaxation and social engagement.

1) Humming

Singing is a great way for us as humans to communicate and be connected to the greater world. Humming is a means of vocalization that has an extended exhale. When this happens, we are releasing a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which will stimulate the vagus nerve and create this relaxation response. Additionally, when we are humming, the vibration of humming oscillates the air and causes the nasal cavity to release nitric oxide, which thereby increases vasodilation and circulation. Lastly, it can create a co-regulation with other humans. This creates a safe place for us and that brings us back to that state of social engagement.

2) Sternal Release

The vagus nerve innervates the SA node of the heart, which is also referred to as our pacemaker. It also sits inside of the lung tissue and passes right through the diaphragm. You have baroreceptors in your aorta and carotid which detect pressure changes, especially blood pressure changes. When we are stimulating these things, we can induce a relaxation response. 

To do the sternal release, place a soft ball under your sternum, inhale through the nose, and pretend to cough, but don’t actually cough. So, you’re breath-holding and then slowly exhaling. Perform this for 10 to 20 minutes.

3) Neck Release

Release the areas around the carotid artery, which moves into the carotid sinus, and is innervated by the vagus nerve. As we move through the tissues, we are moving, compressing, lengthening, and shearing all of these tissues around the vagus nerve.

You’ll start just below your ear by compressing and twisting the ball gently as you shear across the tissues. Gently lengthen the neck by turning your head in the opposite direction. Go slowly and carefully over the trachea, hyoid, and larynx in the center, because they can be a little bit more sensitive. After performing the neck release, you should feel warmth in the neck and perhaps even your face. You might even be able to use your senses a little more clearly; sight, sound, and smell. It might just feel like your face softens afterward as well.

4) Probiotics

The enteric nerves from the gut and the vagus nerve are connecting the gut and the brain, which is referred to as our gut-brain connection. Think of this as a highway, a beautiful bi-directional communication. This can be greatly impacted by our HPA axis, hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, referred to as our stress pathway. This can be influenced by probiotics. The two primary strains of bacteria that have been shown to impact mood, behavior, depression, anxiety, also referred to as psychobiotics are lactobacillus rhamnosus and bifidobacterium longum. Both of these strains have been shown to have improvements in anxiety and depression-related behavior, but they can also impact GABA, which in essence, inhibits feelings of fear and anxiety. This can have a profound effect on mood and behavior.

5) Visceral Release 

We tend to hold a lot of tension in our abdomen. It is important to remember that 80 percent of our vagus nerve is sensory indicating that it is providing information back up to the brain. The vagus nerve is innervating our gut, so if we’re holding tension here, we are signaling “tension” or distress to our brain. It’s really important to create these relaxation responses of the organs, tissue, fascia, and skin by stimulating the vagus nerve.

For the visceral release, lie on a ball or even a rolled-up towel or blanket on your side, and gently guide the tissue, skin, fascia, and organs over the ball. Breathe diaphragmatically, starting on your left side and then moving to your right. 

These are five of many different vagus nerve hacks, but please follow us (@themovementparadigm) on TikTok, IG, and FB, for more health tips to help you feel great again!

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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5 Minute Facelift | Vagus Nerve | Cranial Nerves

Did you know that you can do a five-minute facelift that will make you feel completely refreshed, revitalized, and also bring you to a state of social engagement by stimulating the cranial nerves and the relaxation response? Do you ever feel like your face just feels like it needs a little bit of a lift, but you don’t want to do anything cosmetic? Well, this is exactly where you want to start. This can make a huge difference, and it’s recommended to perform this on one side of your face before the other side, so you can see the noticeable difference.

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Six Benefits of the 5-Minute Facelift

  1. Ignite the Relaxation Response

You will stimulate the cranial nerves that share the same nuclei with the vagus nerve. This will ignite the relaxation response.

2. Improve Your Face Circulation

You will improve the circulation of your face. Essentially, you are enhancing blood flow, and you are also moving the lymph.

3. Put Life Back into the Middle 1/3 of your Face

It’s going to put life back into the middle one-third of your face. Essentially, you can notice a shift in your eyes, in between the eyes, the forehead, as well as the mouth.

4. Brings Youthful Quality to your Face

It brings this youthful quality to your face allowing your expressions to come a little bit more naturally especially with smiling. That makes you a little more responsive with your interactions with others.

5. Makes Your Cheekbone Prominent and Softer

It makes flat cheekbones a little bit more prominent and higher cheekbones a little bit softer.

6. Brings You to a State of Social Engagement

Because it is creating this relaxation response, and you are stimulating the cranial nerves that attribute to facial expression, this will bring you to a state of social engagement which means that you’re more connected, more mindful, and grounded. This allows you to interact with the world better, and it allows you to be more associated with yourself and the greater world.

Here’s how you do it.

  1. Start on one side of your face. Come right outside of the nose and assess the tissue. Move it up and move it down, see which way it is not moving as well. Hold very lightly just on this outer surface of the skin so this doesn’t move. Just gently hold it again very softly to start and hold it until you feel a release— until you feel like the tissue just starts to soften and it becomes a little bit more elastic. That could be 30 seconds up to two minutes.
  2. Now move in towards the midline and then away. Figure out where there’s more resistance. Push into that resistance until you feel like you start to release.
  3. Now with a circle, go in one direction and the other direction. Still, just a moderate pressure where that velcro feel is. This time, hold this until you sigh, swallow, or yawn—and that is a sign of the relaxation of the nervous system.
  4. Lastly, one more time, go in a little deeper. Move through both layers in a circular motion until where you can almost feel the bone underneath. Find the resistance. Hold until you sigh, swallow, or yawn.
  5. Now move right inside the eyebrow and begin with assessing the tissue up and down.  Remember, light pressure here. Then, move side to side, and then sink in a little deeper. Figure out what that feels like for you.
  6. The next step is to do your circle, find the resistance, and hold until you sigh, swallow, or yawn.
  7. Now, go a little deeper, feeling the tissue, making your circle, finding the resistance, and then once again hold until you sigh, swallow, or yawn.
  8. Take a moment to check-in. Look at your one half of the face, maybe take a picture, look at the mirror, so that you can see the difference.
  9. Repeat on the other side.

This is a really powerful way to create a lot of benefits in a short amount of time. Not to mention that it feels amazing!

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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HOW TO TEST YOUR VAGUS NERVE | Polyvagal Theory

Did you know that you can test your vagal nerve function, and not only can you test it, but you can begin to tap into the healing power of the vagus nerve? Your vagus nerve is responsible for the regulation of internal organs such as digestion, heart rate, respiratory rate and impacts certain reflex actions like coughing, sneezing, and swallowing. It is critical to optimal health and you can tap into it-but first, find out what state you’re in.

The Polyvagal Theory

Before we jump into how you can assess the vagal nerve, let’s talk a little bit about the autonomic nervous system. We used to think of the autonomic nervous system as simply fight or flight or rest and digest. However, Dr. Steven Porges’s work shows us that there’s much more to it and there are actually three circuits of our autonomic nervous system. This is referred to as the polyvagal theory.

Essentially we have our fight or flight state, which is also considered our sympathetic spinal activation. We also have our dorsal vagal state, referring to the most primitive vagal nerve, and indicates we are in a freeze state. This means we are shut down and feel hopeless. We are disassociated from ourselves and other people.

Lastly, we have the ventral vagal circuit, which means we are in a state of social engagement-a state of safety. This means we are connected to the greater world. We’re connected to ourselves. We are joyful and mindful. All three of these are critical and during the day we go through all of these different circuits, but most often we don’t even recognize that we do because we go through them so quickly. However, we can get stuck in these. We can get stuck in a fight or flight stress response where we’re constantly worried, anxious, frustrated, or irritated. It’s also easy to remain in a shut-down mode. We of course could be mindful and joyful. We’re constantly fluctuating.

polyvygal chart
Adapted by Ruby Jo Walker

Check out our previous blog on “How to Map your Nervous System” here.

Breaking that down a little further, let’s speak about the ventral vagal nerve. This originates from the brainstem just as the dorsal vagal nerve does. This innervates most of the muscles of the throat, such as the larynx, pharynx, uvular muscles as well as the levator palatini muscles in the back of the throat. Whereas our dorsal vagal nerve, which is more subdiaphragmatic, innervates the muscles of the stomach, liver, and digestive system. It also does innervate the muscles of the heart and lungs. Just a reminder, the dorsal vagal nerve is impacting that freeze state, shutdown mode, whereas the ventral vagal is eliciting that sense of inner calm and relaxation and is associated with our state of safety or state of social engagement.

Testing Ventral Vagal Function

You may need a partner for this. This is a really powerful technique that can have a profound impact on how you address your body. Remembering where all the powerful neural innervations are, one of the innervations of the ventral vagus nerve is the throat.

  • Grab a partner and a flashlight.
  • Have your partner look at the inside of the mouth at the back of the throat at the uvula that drops down right in the center.
  • Now, perform an “ah, ah, ah” sound.
  • When you open your mouth, you can use a tongue depressor or your fingers to push down your tongue so the uvula and soft palate can be more visible.
  • The examiner is going to look at the uvula to see if there is a deviation to one side.  
three mouths anatomy
Adapted from Stanley Rosenberg’s Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve

What you’re looking for, specifically, is if there’s any deviation from one side to the other. If the uvula pulls over to one side, then that is indicative of ventral vagal nerve dysfunction. If it moves up symmetrically, then that means that you are in that state of social engagement. So, if you have the soft palate moving up on one side, let’s say it’s moving up on the left side, and not moving up on the right side, then that would be indicative of a dysfunction of the pharyngeal branch of the ventral vagal nerve.

Now, that you’ve tested let’s move into how to stimulate the vagus nerve.

Vagus Nerve stimulation: The basic exercise

If your test indicated that you had a ventral vagal nerve dysfunction, perform the basic exercise for vagus nerve stimulation.

  • Lie on your back on the ground.
  • Interlace your fingers and bring them behind your head- right at the base of the skull
  • Look with your eyes to the right until you sigh, swallow, or yawn, and then repeat on the other side.
  • You may blink during the exercise.

Now that you’ve stimulated it, retest your vagal nerve and see if there was a change.

This is just one way to measure your autonomic nervous system function. This is also just one way out of many to stimulate your vagus nerve. However, recognize there are so many ways to become more aware, more in tune, and map your nervous system. You are completely in control of what’s happening in your life.

I want to give a huge thank you to Dr. Steven Porges for all of his amazing work in this area, as well as Stanley Rosenberg, for their contributions to this area of life-changing research. Make sure to check out the book, Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve, by Stanley Rosenberg.

If you’d like to schedule a free 15-minute virtual discovery session, please email drarianne@themovementparadigm.com or text 302-373-2394 to schedule. We’d love to help you get healthy again!

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Why you should stop “stretching” your hip | HIP PAIN

Do you have hip pain that you are continually trying to stretch, roll, or smash, and nothing seems to get better?  Before we get into the role of the psoas, one of your key hip flexors, let’s speak about the local stabilizers and global stabilizers of the body. This is important to understand how you are going to treat your hip flexors and hip pain.

Think of the local stabilizers as being muscles that are close to the joint. They create more of an isometric contraction versus concentric (shortening) or eccentric (lengthening) contraction. They control the joint centration which means keeping the joint centered in its axis. It’s also independent of the activity of motion so if you raise your arm overhead, the deep stabilizers in my spine are going to activate before your arm goes overhead. Essentially these local stabilizers are imperative for stabilization in the body so that we can have proper movement.

Our global stabilizers are equally as important. However, they have a different role, so they have more of an eccentric contraction. They decelerate the range of motion, are continuous with motion, and are farther away from the joint.

Now getting back to the psoas, which is what everyone wants to stretch when they have hip pain.  The posterior or the back of the psoas is a local stabilizer. Think of it as one of our deep core muscles that is helping to stabilize the spine and also prevent the femur, our leg bone, from shifting forward in the hip joint. The anterior or front of the psoas serves as a global stabilizer. So, it is necessary to think of the psoas muscle as a stabilizer. Not only is it a stabilizer but it works in an integrated unit with all of the other muscles, including the pelvic floor, diaphragm, multifidus, the deep five rotators in the hip, and the transverse abdominus. All of these have to work together, and once again in this integrated fashion to be able to stabilize the low back and the pelvis during any kind of movement.

For example, if you performed a chest press with 30 pound in each hand on a bench and then transitioned into doing that on a stability ball, your weight would naturally go down. Why? Because you now have an unstable platform to work from and therefore can not generate as much force.

There are a lot of different hip pathologies that we won’t get into today, but when you have hip pain it typically happens from losing the deep stability of the hip. There are two common muscle imbalances that will exist. One is the TFL(tensor fascia latae) muscle, which is right in the front lateral side of the hip, can get tight, especially with increased sitting. Based on this attachment, it will pull the hip forward, and that will therefore inhibit or shut down the psoas. The other common muscle imbalance is the hamstring muscles, which can get tight for various reasons, inhibiting the glute muscles. The hamstrings can push the femur forward and that also leads us to lose that optimal position on the hip joint. Overtime if we have these muscle imbalances, instead of the hip being centered in the axis, it will start to shift forward and up. This will cause all types of pain issues and pathologies. Whether that’s a labral tear, hip impingement, tendinopathy, bursitis, and so on. So, it is important to get the hip stabilized and centered in the joint in order to decrease pain and ultimately improve function.

You can begin to do this through a four-step process. This is a great way to begin to address your pain, as well as any kind of movement compensation, and most importantly, integrate your foot with your core, in a very integrated manner. First is inhibiting the tissue, in this case we inhibited the TFL muscle that typically pulls the hip joint forward and creates that inhibition of the psoas as a deep stabilizer. Then, mobilize the hip joint to center the hip joint. Remember that when it is not in that center position it’s shifting forward enough so we’re shifting it back to the center position. Next, stabilize it by activating the deep stabilizers, such as our diaphragm, pelvic floor, etc. Then we’re integrating it with the ground. This is super important because the foot is part of the core and they work as an integrated unit. To get those deep stabilizers of the hip firing, short foot, i.e. foot to core sequencing, allows us to do that in a very integrated fashion.

4 Steps

1. Inhibition

For the TFL release, place the ball right on the outside of the hip. When you lie down, you’ll naturally rotate the hip in, which will expose the TFL muscle. With the other leg, anchor it up at a 90-degree angle and come down to your forearms. Holding that position your leg will be nice and long, naturally rotated in, and breathing throughout the exercise trying to relax into it.

2. Mobilization

For the hip mobilization with a band, you’ll place the band high up in the groin. You’ll have it back at a 45-degree angle away from you. You’ll start in a table position rocking forward 15 times, making sure your spine stays nice and long, and you’re breathing. Then rock away from the band, so to the opposite side, once again about 15 times, making sure you’re breathing throughout the exercise.

3. Activation

Now it’s time to activate the deep core, so you can do this by diaphragmatic breathing. Inhale, breathing into the abdomen and into the base of the pelvis allowing the abdomen to expand 360 degrees. Exhaling, letting the abdomen contract and the belly button in towards the spine. Once you feel like you have this established, then on your inhale allow the pelvic floor to relax, so you can exhale and gently lift the pelvic floor about 20% contraction to get a deeper integration. You want to think of this as a rhythmical balance, so nice and fluid. Inhaling to the base of the pelvis and exhaling gently lifting the pelvic floor.

4. Integration

Lastly, it’s time for integration. This is to be done with short foot. Standing on one leg, sitting the hips back, knees slightly bent, taking a breath in, while your foot relaxes then exhale and gently root the tips of the toes into the ground. That will naturally lift the arch and lift the metatarsal heads or ball of the foot.

So whether you have hip pain or hip tightness and are constantly stretching your hips, hopefully, this video will give you a little bit of insight to allow you to think about your hip differently and recognize that it is part of an integrated unit. It is really important to understand how that works as it relates to stabilization and movement

If you’d like to schedule a free 15 minute virtual discovery session, please email drarianne@themovementparadigm.com or text 302-373-2394 to schdule. We’d love to help you get healthy again!

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

How to train your core without crunches

Did you know that you do not have to do crunches and sit-ups to train your core? In fact, crunches, sit-ups, and many other similar core exercises can negatively impact your core, especially if they’re not done properly. How can you train your core without doing crunches?

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What comprises our core?

Let’s break the core down. We have our local stabilizers, global stabilizers, and global mobilizers.

Our local stabilizers include our pelvic floor (base of our core), diaphragm (breathing muscle), multifidus (along the spine), transverse abdominals (like a corset), deep posterior psoas (hip flexor), and the deep hip stabilizers (deep five). These muscles are close to the joint and isometrically contract to create stability and control the joint positioning. This improves what we refer to as joint centration, maintaining our joint on its center axis.

Next, we have our global stabilizers. This includes our glute medius, obliques, spinalis muscles in the back, and quadratus lumborum. These muscles are also geared toward stabilizing, but they create more of an eccentric range of motion. They decelerate motion.

Lastly, is our global mobilizers. This includes rectus abdominis, latissimus dorsi, and quadriceps, and so on. These muscles produce force. They initiate force and movement. All of these are equally important. However, one has to come first, and that is the local stabilization. We have to be able to stabilize our joints to be able to produce force and power from a stable foundation. If you don’t have a stable foundation to operate from, an injury will occur.

Why is it important?

When we refer to the deep core and how it is intimately connected with your feet, and the rest of your body, I like to use the reference of the deep front fascial line. This connects from the bottom of the foot fascially all the way up through the inner thigh, pelvic floor, deep stabilizers, diaphragm, and even the neck. The beautiful representation of this fascial tensegrity is a great visual of how our body is connected, and how our feet are actually part of our core.

Another great way to appreciate this deep local stabilization and the importance of the local stabilization before the global stabilization is a hernia.

Whether you or someone you know has had an umbilical hernia, inguinal hernia, abdominal hernia, or sports hernia, this is a perfect example of where the deep core was not stabilizing efficiently. There was so much stress on the outer core musculature and poor pressurization in the abdomen that it caused a tear in the abdominal wall, or in the case of a sports hernia in the fascial tissue.

In the case of a sports hernia, which is very common but often much overlooked and misdiagnosed, the fascial tissue most often affected connects the rectus abdominus and the adductor. The adductor muscle will have a mechanical advantage so when there is a loss of deep stability, it will create a tear in the fascia in the rectus sheath. You cannot rehab this since you’ve lost the integrity in this force transmission system.  It can only be surgically repaired.

Now, back to the deep stabilizers. It is important to train the deep inner local system before the deep outer global system to prevent things like hernias, back pain, hip pain, and neck pain You can have an optimal foundation to work from to generate force with power and be able to do the things that you want to do. If you are doing crunches, sit-ups, or leg lowers without a proper foundation, read on.

What exercises can you incorporate in your routine?

Here are five different exercises that you can incorporate into your routine or refine if you’re already doing them so that you do not need to do crunches and sit-ups, but you can do these exercises to maximize the potential of your core.

1) Diaphragmatic breathing with pelvic floor contraction

As you inhale lengthen the public floor, relax, and then as you exhale gently lift the pelvic floor about 20 percent contraction in the direction of your head. Repeat this for eight to ten breaths working on the coordination and rhythm of the breath with the pelvic floor contraction.

2) Step by step hollow

Take a breath in and flatten your back as you exhale. Next, take a breath in, exhale, and lift your head and shoulders, reaching through your fingertips. Take another breath in, exhale, and pull your hamstring in towards your body, and then repeat with the other side. If that feels appropriate there stay in that position for a couple of breaths. If you’d like to progress, take a breath in, exhale, and raise your arms overhead keeping the hollow position and the tension. Then reach with the other arm. If you’d like to go to the full progression if that feels appropriate to you, then you would extend one leg, and then extend the other leg.

3) Beast

The beast position is in a stable position with your index finger parallel and spreading your fingers wide. Then corkscrew your shoulders, tuck your toes under, and lift your knees approximately two inches or so above the ground. Use your breath as your repetition. You can do this for as many breaths as you can hold. You can also progress into a crawling motion.

4) Side plank

This helps with lateral stability. The first progression is with your elbows underneath the shoulder, the bottom knee bent, and the top leg straight. If you’d like to progress this you can go into a staggered stance or even a stacked posture.

5) Foot to core sequence

Standing on one leg in an athletic position, take a breath in, as you relax your foot relax your pelvic floor, exhaling rooting the toes into the ground. Repeat that for five to eight breath cycles. As you do that you’re rooting the tips of the digits into the ground. You can then move into a bowler or any other type of dynamic motion, inhaling back and exhaling short footing, and coming back to the standing position.

There you have it—five different ways you can begin to shift your core training to focus on local stabilization before moving to global stabilization and movement. You can use these as ideas. There are endless exercises that can fit into this category but this is just to get you thinking a little bit differently about how to train your core the best way possible so that you can improve your performance, decrease your injury prevention, and feel your best.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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DO YOU HAVE A SOCIAL DILEMMA?

Do you have a social dilemma? Do you love to stay connected to your friends, family on Facebook or Instagram, but do you feel like you just scroll aimlessly checking out what everyone else is doing for hours. Do you feel addicted to the “like” button? Anytime you post, can you hardly wait to see who’s responded to it? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you are just like most Americans and people all over the world. We are seeking “social” approval. We are constantly posting and potentially comparing ourselves to what everyone else is doing. Meanwhile, all of the social media platforms have algorithms that know exactly what we’re doing at all times. They know what we’re thinking, what type of personality we have, and what our interests are. Hence, all of the specific ads targeted us. They are watching every move we make and are therefore manipulating our decisions and actions.

According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, there was a 5,000 person study that showed that a significant increase in social media uses correlated with higher mental and physical health issues as well as decreased life satisfaction. Sixty-four percent of the people that have joined extremist groups on Facebook have done so because the algorithms have directed them there. The list goes on. If you have children or teenagers, I’m sure you’re well aware of how it affects communication, their interests, and how they play and interact. We used to go out and play, but now children want to play on the computer, YouTube, Instagram, or any other game or social media platform. We see in our practice every day how it can impact body image and confidence issues in women AND men.

Let’s not forget all of the amazing things about social media. It’s great for businesses marketing. It’s powerful to be able to connect with people you haven’t seen for years, and how to be able to stay abreast of all the things that are happening in your family and friends’ lives.  There are so many wonderful things about social media too, hence the social dilemma.

What can you do to get control of your social media to use so that it’s benefiting you, your life, your family, your friends, and everyone around you, as opposed to negatively impacting your mental, physical, and emotional health?

1) Setting aside time every day to look at social media. Block time so that you are limiting yourself to a certain amount so that there will be less aimless scrolling and more intentional use. Then, stick to it!

2) Delete all notifications on your phone. That means Facebook, Instagram, email, etc. notifications. Delete them all, so that way you can choose what and when you are going to look at these different platforms and you are not being dictated by the algorithms.

3) Aim to follow organizations and people that you believe in, you trust, you respect, and admire so that when you open your feed it is not filled with things that do not make your life better.

4) Watch the social dilemma. If you haven’t already, it is an outstanding movie that will change the way that you think. It has shifted my thinking, and how I’ve organized my time and planning for looking at social media. I hope that it will have the same impact on you and your family.

Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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Which foot type are you?

Did you ever wonder what your foot type is? And if so, do you know the impact of your foot type on your movement, gait, and injury risk? How can you address your foot type so that you are maximizing your foundation, i.e your feet. You’ll want to connect your foundation with your core and integrate into your dynamic movement to stay injury-free.

We have three primary foot types;

  1. Everted foot type
  2. Neutral foot type
  3. Inverted foot type

None of these foot types are bad in and of themselves. However, it is important to understand the impact that it can have on function, as well as potential injuries.

On the left is the everted foot type which is associated with being unlocked and unstable. This foot type is typically classified as the flatter foot type or the more pronated foot.  The neutral foot type is in the middle, which is the optimal foot position. On the right is the inverted foot type which is associated with being locked, rigid, and stable. This foot type is commonly viewed as the high arched foot type.

Each foot type has different implications on movement and overall function. Therefore they should be addressed in an individualized manner. For example, if you have more of an everted foot type, a flatter, unstable foot, then the lateral structures of the lower legs will likely be tight. The outside of the lower leg and calf would need to be mobilized, and then the foot needs to be strengthened. In an inverted foot type, a locked, rigid foot type, it is important to mobilize the muscles on the inside of the calf and improve active ankle mobility to bring the foot into neutral. All of them will require some type of integration with your core and into dynamic movement.

There are exceptions to every rule, however, and there are different pathologies that you or someone you know may present with that need to be factored in. In addition to performing the appropriate exercises to balance your foot, you’ll also want your footwear to enhance your natural foot function, rather than replace it.  Your foot type, injury history, movement, and pathologies will determine which shoe would be best for you.

If you would like to understand what foot type you are and what to do about it please reach out for a 15-minute discovery session so that we can guide you on how we can help you on your journey.

If you need help on your journey to better health, contact drarianne@themovementparadigm.com to schedule a FREE 15 minute virtual consultation.

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