There’s a new worldwide fitness trend brewing and it’s one you’re going to love. If you’ve tried high-intensity exercise and realised it’s just not for you then chances are you’ll love the new Low-Pressure Fitness or LPF trend. Using Hatha Yoga principles and breath work, LPF is a system of exercise that conditions your body while also helping to align your body, breath and core function. It’s said that LPF is great for everyone from athletes looking to improve their core strength and performance to new-moms, gym bunnies, and even men! So, what are you waiting for? Get started at home today with these 5 Low-Pressure exercises for beginners.
Bringing the LPF trend to South Africa is sister duo Janet Kimmel and Shirley Boerssen. The pair will be hosting the highly anticipated Kegels & Karma event in Paarl, Cape Town in January 2018 and until then they’re doing their best to spread the message about the benefits of Low-Pressure Fitness. In preparation for the upcoming event, Janet and Shirley have shared their top 5 tips for strengthening your core using LPF:
1. Core breath:
Core breath is not a Kegel and it’s not a strength exercise. It’s about gently engaging and releasing. While seated or lying down, inhale. As you do this, think of softening your pelvic floor. Then exhale. As you do this, gently engage your pelvic floor. Do 15-30 breaths.
2. Box breathing:
This is a simple meditative breathing pattern that really wakes up your ribs and diaphragm. While seated or lying down, inhale to a count of 4, hold your breath for 4, exhale for 4, hold your breath for 4 and repeat. Aim for 15-30 breaths. Keep your tummy soft and avoid arching your mid-back. Focus on expanding into your side and back ribs.
3. Stationary lunge using core breath:
Stand with your feet in the starting position for a lunge. Inhale. As you do this, soften through your pelvic floor and bend your knees to go into the lunge. At the bottom of your lunge, stop and gently engage your pelvic floor. Exhale as you straighten your legs and return to your start position. Repeat 2-4 set for 10-15 reps.
4. Tabletop plank hover using core breath:
On all fours in a tabletop position, inhale and soften your pelvic floor. Stop and gently engage your pelvic floor. Lift your knees a few centimetres off the mat so that you are balancing on your hands and feet. Exhale as your knees hover above the mat for 2-4 seconds, then gently lower them to the mat again. Repeat for 2-4 sets of 10-15 reps.
If you feel pressure when lifting your knees, or see your tummy bulging, don’t lift your knees. Just remain in the tabletop position without lifting your knees. Instead, think of lengthening through your tailbone and crown as you exhale.
5. Bridge combined with core breath:
Lying on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent, heals just below and in line with your sit bones, inhale and soften your pelvic floor (think – starting the flow of urine). Stop and gently engage your pelvic floor (think – slowing the flow of urine). Exhale as you lift your pelvis up into a bridge. Instead of squeezing your glutes tight together as if you were pinching a penny in the middle, rather squeeze both butt cheeks up to the sky as this will lessen any pelvic tuck. Repeat 2-4 sets 10-15 reps.
The first event of its kind in SA, Kegels & Karma the event is aimed at women of all shapes, ages and sizes to kick-start the new year with a healthy, balanced body and motivated outlook. You’ll learn all about the power of your body and how to ensure its working at optimum while enjoying specialised exercise, talks and delicious food.
The emphasis is on creating awareness about the still-taboo topic of pelvic floor dysfunction that affects over 40 percent of women. Every movement you make starts with deep core muscles to support you, so they need to be balanced. If they’re not, you can experience things like prolapse, incontinence, hernias and hip, back, neck and shoulder pain.
The Kegels & Karma event takes place at XTN Family Farm, Paarl, Cape Town. Tickets cost R285 for early birds and R645 thereafter- ticket prices include a core education session, a fitness workshop, a walk through the vines, breakfast buffet, lunch buffet, a series of talks and meditation, as well as a goodie bag. Bookings can be by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit the Kegels & Karma website.