If you were able to come to the first Faith & Food meeting in January, in the fitness breakout session we spent some time talking about our transverse abdominal muscle (TVA). The TVA is the deepest muscle of our abdominal wall. It’s not those six-pack ab muscles that everyone seems to be striving for or admiring. No, this muscle isn’t “showy” or “glamorous,” but it is a very important part of our design.
The TVA is composed of muscle fibers that run horizontally and encircle the entire abdominal cavity like a corset. One of its purposes is to stabilize the lumbar (lower back) and pelvic (hip) regions. Pretty important as we stand and sit most of the day, right? Another job of the TVA is to assist in forced expirations. In other words, it helps you breathe out in a forceful way.
Try this so that you can feel your TVA at work: Place your hand on the upper abdominal region, between the bottom of your sternum (or breastbone) and your belly button. Now, take a breath in and powerfully exhale out with your hand still resting on your belly. As you exhaled, you should have felt your TVA muscle engaging (or tightening) beneath your hand. You should be able to keep this muscle engaged while talking, standing, sitting, etc., but it is especially important to keep the TVA engaged while exercising, as it not only strengthens your core but prevents injury by stabilizing your core as well.
As believers, we also need to engage our minds on a daily, hourly, even minute by minute basis. God’s word says:
“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from His perspective.”
Colossians 3:1-2 (MSG)
Let’s be serious about living our lives with Christ. Let’s choose to stay engaged today—engage our minds, engage our bodies, and engage our TVA muscles throughout the day. Have a great Fitness Friday!