Extension the spine is the opposite of flexion. From a terminology standpoint, itâs helpful to be specific. If the cue is âbend the spineâ it could move in one of three directions. Forward (spine flexion), Backward (spine extension), or Sideways (lateral flexion). The other direction our spine moves is to rotate or twist. Normally âbendingâ means flexion, or moving the body forward towards the legs. Extension would be taking the body backwards in the opposite direction, OR un-bending.
A Back Out of Balance
Without active thought during daily life activities, we can lose the three natural curves of the spine, and all of a sudden our posture is well, kind of poor. Our head may be sitting forward on the neck from too many hours straining to look at a computer screen. Our shoulders and upper back may be hunched forward from slumping in our chairs, or spending all day doing things bending forward. After all, we really donât do anything in daily life with our arms behind us! If this upper body slump is extreme itâs called kyphosis. If weâre standing, we may get lazy and forget to maintain some support through the mid-section. With the abdominals hanging farther out to the front, the lower back will get pulled forward too, creating a more noticeable lumbar curve. If extreme this sway in the low back is called lordosis. The body will strive for balance. If thereâs too much going on at one end, itâs going to make some changes at the other end to compensate. Over time it will tell the brain that these changes were done to be in a normal, balanced position. At some point, the brain will accept the changes as the way itâs supposed to be, and voila! You now have a body that wonât fight for a better position, because it thinks itâs placed where it should be.If youâre looking for ways to help get your back in balance and improve your posture, check out this great resource, âPosture Principles for Health,â at http://www.centerworkspilates.com/store.html
The Importance of Practicing Spine Extension
Spine extension is very important for posture and health. Since there is very little in life that we do bending backwards, taking time with exercise to move this direction can help keep our backs in balance. Ideally, every segment of the spine should move freely and easily in all directions. The real goal with good spine extension is to get the entire spine actively participating, which means the middle back has to learn how to extend - movement away from its natural curve. Practicing extension exercises also provides an opportunity to stretch and lengthen through the front of the body. In the long run this will help improve movement of the spine in all directions. A great quote from Joseph Pilates is, âA man is as young as his spinal column.â Practicing sequential, segmental spine extension will help keep you feeling young!Swan Lift Tips to Improve Your Technique (lay on your stomach, tip of the nose to the mat.)
Get details and pictures for a great preparatory exercise to help you practice and improve your extension with a copy of the full article, Mastering Movement of the Spine: Extension
**If you have any doubts as to the appropriateness of learning or practicing new habits and/or exercises - you are advised to check with your doctor to be sure it is safe & appropriate for you to participate.
Aliesa George is the founder of CenterworksÂ® Pilates. She is an author, workshop presenter, and mind-body health expert with more than 25 years of experience designing solutions for health improvement. Aliesa has created a wide variety of products focused on Pilates, Foot Fitness, the Mind-Body Connection, Stress-Management, and Whole-Body Health. She enjoys helping others discover the connection between thought and action to get positive results and achieve goals for a healthy mind, body and spirit!
To get complete product information and read more of her articles, go to http://www.Centerworks.com