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A group of muscles located on the front side of the body which lie between the ribs and the pelvis region are known as abdominal muscles. These muscles support the movement of the trunk and hold the vital organs of the abdomen in place together.
Body muscles are responsible for the movement of the whole body or its parts. They are able to covert chemical energy to mechanical energy. Fundamental properties of muscles are flexibility, excitability, conductivity and summation.
Various Abdominal Muscles
The four major abdominal muscles are as follows:
- Transversus Abdominis – These are the deepest muscles which influence the body posture. These muscles are found wrapped around the torso.
- The Internal Oblique Muscles – A pair of muscles which reside on either side of the torso are said to be internal oblique muscles. These muscles modulate the body posture to a large extent. Some vital functions like rotation of the spine and lateral flexion are performed by these muscles.
- External Oblique muscles – This pair of muscles like internal oblique muscles are also present on either side of torso. These muscles are located superficially and have less effect on maintenance of body posture. These muscles help the Internal Oblique Muscles in rotation of the spine and lateral flexion.
- Rectus Abdominus muscle -These muscles are the most superficial muscles of the abdomen which maintain the fitness of the abdomen.
Conditions of Stress
Professional athletes are usually subjected to abdominal muscle strain when their muscles are subjected to high amount of stress. In fact a situation of abdominal strain can arise to any common man. Simple daily activities like repeated lifting of heavy weights may also lead to abdominal strain. Such adverse situation can be treated by proper medication. However as the common saying goes “prevention is better than cure”, it is better to subject our muscles to proper relaxation than getting used to medication.
Abdominal muscles are naturally stressed out during pregnancy. It is good to keep the muscles in good condition for easy delivery. In addition to this proper relaxation and abdominal exercises help the mother to regain her strength after delivery.
How to relax abdominal muscles?
According to Harvard professor of medicine, Herbert Benson, a relaxed state is just opposite to the state of stress. Our body has the capacity to achieve this relaxed state which is a deep state of rest. This state is associated with decrease in breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, muscle tension, and active thinking. There are various methods by which we can relax our abdominal muscles.
These exercises include abdominal breathing which is quite different from shallow chest breathing. Abdominal breathing involves diaphragm which is the large muscle located between the chest and the abdomen. They increase the lung capacity and at the same time relax the abdominal muscles optimally.
Some basic yoga poses like Virabhadrasana, Bhujangasana, Marjarasana, Navasana etc help to strengthen our abdominal muscles and provide them with proper relaxation.
Advice to the modern man
Present day man is subjected to various kinds of stressful conditions. Due to his busy schedule he often feels that there is no time left for relaxation techniques. By setting aside 20-30 minutes and practicing the relaxation techniques daily he can improve his general health and longevity of life.