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Fitness for Body, Mind and Spirit

GreenNote Life

Fitness for the body, mind & spirit

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Reflections: body, mind, and spirit: Exercise for flat stomach; visual cue for yearly goal

Here's what I've been doing for Body, Mind, and Spirit.


Stomach vacuum - stronger core and a flat stomach

You read that correctly, stomach vacuum. It’s a type of isometric exercise - holding muscle(s) under tension without moving it or changing body position. Every day I’ve been performing this exercise which targets the transverse abdominis - deep core muscle that goes around your middle like a corset.

The science

I was pleased to read that in a 2019 Study that the exercise fires not only the corset muscle but also the internal oblique, pelvic floor muscles, diaphragm, and multifidus. It states: the technique is performed by inhaling deeply and then slowly blowing air out through a small hole between your lips while pulling the navel closer to the spine. This action initiates transversus abdominis firing (along with the internal oblique, the pelvic floor muscles, the diaphragm, and the multifidus).

The technique in action

The best way to understand what this looks like and how to perform is through visualization. Check out this video on how to perform the exercise. The video demonstrates from a standing position, in addition it can be performed lying down on your back with knees bent, or on all fours. I’ve been doing three sets of a 20-second hold.

The benefits

As we get older and our pelvic floor muscles get out of balance, it is very helpful to engage not only the pelvic floor muscles but also the transverse abdominis. While doing the stomach vacuum, the pelvic floor muscles contract simultaneously. Some benefits of the exercise include:

  • Strengthening the support system around the spine

  • Improved posture

  • Supporting pelvic and abdominal organs

  • Can help improve digestion and elimination

  • Fights protrusion of stomach for a flatter look

Challenge for you:

Focus on developing a core with well-balanced functional strength. Be sure to include exercises that focus on those deep abdominal muscles - transverse abdominis. Some to include:


Get reading - visual cues

Last year I did a Read to Lead Challenge. It renewed my love of reading books. For 2023, I have a reading "pile" - a set of books in plain view that I will be reading through the end of December. Having a visual reminder is great; it is a physical object representing the action I need to take. Included is one large fiction book for fun, non-fiction books, with a sprinkling of some science based reading material. The pile keeps growing!

Challenge for you:

Is there something in your life that you need a little reminder for? Keep forgetting those gym clothes? Try setting all your gear out next to the door as a way to place upon you the importance of physical fitness.


Prayer challenge

With Lent now upon us, I will be doing a prayer challenge, Lent #Pray40: Imitation of Christ through the Hallow app. Description: Pray with millions around the world leading up to Easter alongside Mark Wahlberg, Jim Caviezel, Fr. Mike and more. Each week we will reflect on different themes from the book, share weekly fasting challenges, meditate on the Corporal Works of Mercy, and listen to powerful reflections on the Sunday Gospel.

Challenge for you:

Take some time to go for a walk, journal, mediate, pray. The world is in need of more stillness and that starts with us.

Quote from Heroic Newsletter

“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” ~ Confucius

To your reflection and health,

Lisa Schaffer

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See my last newsletter Body, Mind & Spirit…


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