Ab crack? That's Whack!
With the new craze of -ab cracks' taking social media by storm, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) have advised a level of caution, describing the dangers of fixating on apparent body 'ideals".
'With increased accessibility to social media, new fitness crazes or the next big fad diet can seemingly appear overnight, and it is not long after that public opinion becomes polarised"we are seeing this right now with the new -ab crack'" says Katie Lyndon, ESSA Spokesperson.
The -ab crack' is the development of an indented line between the abdominal muscles and has been promoted by celebrities and social media personalities in recent weeks. But is it healthy?
'As long as the ab crack isn't symptomatic of malnutrition and extreme exercising"similar to a condition called female athlete triad, and isn't associated with a condition called rectus diastasis, then there really isn't a huge physical health concern. Just like the -thigh gap', the -ab crack' is usually developed by those who spend hours in the gym with strict diets and is not attainable by the majority of the population."
'For a lot of people the ab crack will be unattainable, even with a low body fat percentage, no abs look alike"this is usually influenced by genetics, not how much you do of a particular exercise."
'What we are concerned about is the risk to health, as a result of the constant pressure to conform to what society perceives as an 'ideal body" and the implication that is having on mental health."
'With only 5.9% of girls in year 11 meeting physical activity guidelines, maybe we need put more emphasis and priority on exercising for health and wellbeing."
'Exercise to improve your strength, balance and flexibility as well as keep your weight in check and prevent chronic disease. Exercise which is taken to the extremes, as in this case, is difficult to maintain," says Katie.
In a recent online survey, ESSA discovered that when shown -fitspo' style images the majority of respondents felt -motivated' or -impressed' with what they saw.
'Our survey showed that we are affected by what we see, and that these social media trends do have an impact on what we perceive as the optimum body type. The survey also went on to show that over 70% of respondents signed up for an online exercise program, yet over 60% never completed the program."
'This shows us that combining an unrealistic target and a one size fits all exercise approach is ineffective. We need to understand that we are all unique, when our circumstance changes as do our exercise requirements."
'I am urging all Australians to ignore these fad social media trends, and instead focus on long term health, setting realistic goals and seeking the advice of an accredited exercise professional."
Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is the peak professional body for exercise and sports science in Australia, ESSA provides national leadership and advocacy on key issues and supports its members and the community through fostering excellence in professional practice, education and training, and research. www.essa.org.au