Being pregnant and having babies ruins our waistlines…Getting older ruins our waistlines…Eating too much ruins our waistlines…Or does it? These framed photos on the wall of my favorite local antique shop caught my eye. They’re from a bygone era that didn’t have photo shop, but perhaps they were still re-touched or re-drawn a bit? Well, I posted the picture on my personal facebook wall with a comment that said, “These old dames had healthy TVA’s… No crunches back then.”
Of course, my beloved FB friends instantly chimed in with some funny and some serious replies which I love! One said, “…healthy bodies don’t usually look like these drawings or the girls in magazines. Real women with healthy bodies usually have a little more girth and–you know what?–it’s sexier anyway!” And one posted this picture on her wall and tagged me in it, saying, “For Bethany: happy, active women from a bygone era.”
These women are happy and moving and enjoying life. I doubt they did any pilates or yoga – let alone crunches – and they do have a waistline, something that has virtually disappeared from the middles of modern women. I’m all for embracing who we are, but I shudder at what the lack of core control — which is directly related to the shape and state of our bellies — does to the rest of us. A weak transverse abdominus (TVA) is physically linked, not just to a distended and pregnant-looking belly, but also to bowel problems, incontinence (peeing pants), lower back pain, and even sexual disfunction. I just don’t think we are supposed to accept THAT part of being human when we can DO something about it.
What’s amazing is that it is the women who do NOT do crunches or direct core work who have the strongest and smallest midsections. I’m not saying they don’t exercise, though. Research is pointing to how crunches bulge the belly (try one and see what your tummy does). crunches are a waist of time (get it?) because they do more harm than good, and who has time for trying to tone one muscle at a time. These tribal women have excellent cores, and I’d bet they’ve never done a single crunch. Belly dancing really is good for your baby belly, by the way.
Unfortunately, I see more and more women AND men who are skinny or even buff all over, but they have these mysterious pregnant pooches. I, even I, used to wonder why: were they just storing extra fat around their organs? Were they bloated? Were their muscles torn? It’s the last one. Their TVA is torn.
It’s been stressed from pregnancy, overstretching, sitting at a desk too much, leaning forward all the time, or even sliced during surgery. The connective tissue that is supposed to be holding them together in the middle has thinned out and separated into a diastasis. Here’s a fun one, guess which Twilight wolf has a diastasis?
Okay, stop drooling over the Twilight boys. This is supposed to be a wholesome blog for moms, so some of you will have to forgive me for that last one; I just couldn’t resist. I’d love to talk with that guy about his abs, though 😉
My workouts that are marked as “TS for tummy safe” are all safe for guys and gals who have experienced abdominal trauma including surgery, extreme sports, pulled muscles, umbilical hernia, diastasis, irritable bowel syndrome, c-section, or just dunlap disease. Dunlap disease is where your belly done lapped over yer belt 😉
Okay I’m done now…