Engage Your Core

I was watching the US Golf Open this past weekend and I heard one of the runner-ups talking about why he missed a critical putt during the final round. “I just didn’t engage my core as I stood over and putted the ball”  he told his inquisitor.

His comments reminded me of what my physical therapist told me a few months ago after I went to see her about some back pain I was experiencing. “Engage your core by tightening your abdominal muscles when you are doing different activities like walking, stretching and lifting weights” she told me. I guess she forgot to include my golf swing.

Engaging and strengthening core or abdominal muscles is a popular activity today. Yoga and Pilates have it as a key element in their systems and the idea that strengthening and working from your body’s nucleus means that you have the full power and force of your entire body when you do physical activities of any kind.

How can we translate core physical fitness to our everyday life. What would it mean to have everything we do, physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually come from a deeply centered and stable place within ourselves? How can we engage our core life muscles into our work and home life?

Here are five ways you can “engage your core” in everything that you do including your physical fitness

  1. State your intention—There is no better way to establish your direction than to state where you are going. Whether it is writing down and saying what you want to accomplish today or telling a colleague your plans for completing that project, getting it down on paper and words will do the trick.
  2. Determine what’s important and act on it—Values, values, values. I recently returned from a professional workshop a few weeks ago where I remade the decision to define wealth as “discretionary time”. While I don’t want to give up financial success, I also want to make sure I don’t miss out on the small things in life that can give me pleasure today. One of the small ways I’ve changed that is to not go back to my computer at night to work but to instead sit out on my deck and read a fiction or non-fiction book that is not work related.
  3. Reaffirm relationships—It is very easy in our busy lives to lose touch with those people who mean the most to us. I had a friend who recently told me that she reconnected with a group of college buddies and they’ve started having annual reunions where they’ve gotten together, rehashed their old times and talked about their future plans.
  4. Find meaning in your life—Many people continue to tell me that they are dissatisfied with what they are doing but feel stuck in their job and can’t leave due to the economy. I understand that predicament and what I suggest to folks is to find some task, some activity, some project that will bring you a greater sense of satisfaction. It may be helping someone out, or completing some aspect of a project or assisting a customer to resolve a problem.
  5. Go all in—Just like the hokey pokey dance, when you put your whole self in you find a great deal more joy and enjoyment. Try throwing yourself into what you are doing and see if your full engagement helps you bring your best self to the forefront.

Engaging your core may start with your abs but you’ll find yourself finishing with a smile

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