In my own adventures of owning and maintaining a human body I have (re?)discovered the joys of “tummy time”. Parents will be familiar with tummy time as a thing we have our babies do to develop their back and neck muscles that eventually becomes rolling over, crawling, and the like. We basically plop them down on a blanket on their bellies and try to entertain them while they work for that strength and coordination, and they automagically know what to do.
Well, guess what? All the sitting, slouching, forward leaning posture we spend our lives in means that as adults we begin to lose that lovely back extension we worked so hard for in our earliest days, and we don’t seem to automagically know how to fix it. I am finding that a few minutes on my belly on the floor each day goes a long way toward making me feel more balanced, strong, and coordinated. I credit Vitality Pilates and Heidi Gans, PT, for having me do this regularly, and my own silly brain for connecting it to the thing we all did as babies quite naturally.
I found a nice little video from Bex Burton on YouTube with some basic Pilates-inspired tummy time exercises that is a great place to start. IMPORTANT: Supporting your spine by lifting the navel off the ground is the foundation of this exercise. If you are sacrificing that lifted navel to accomplish any of those other moves, back up, hug it up, and make the gesture smaller. When my back is really mad or I have been bent over gardening or working for awhile sometimes simply laying face down and hugging my spine with my navel and just thinking about extending is enough work.
Remember that the intent here is to counteract a deep and enduring slouch and that even if all you do is lay stretched out on the ground on your belly you will be accomplishing some of that. Lifting your navel makes it safer for your low back, and the other moves she throws in there make it more challenging and effective.
See you on the rug!