Office workers and anybody who tends to sit a lot will find these exercises very helpful in alleviating problems and symptoms associated with prolonged sitting. If you are diagnosed with a spinal or back injury, consult with your doctor if these exercises are suitable for you.
The series so far:
- Exercise #1: Cat-Cow
- Exercise #2: Back Extension
- Exercise #3: Back Stretching
- Exercise #4: Heel Kick
- Exercise #5: Double Impact
- Exercise #6: Swimming (you are here)
- Exercise #7: Stomach Rolls
- Exercise #8: Diving Swan
Please make sure to start from the 1st exercise and only after perfecting it work your way up to the more demanding ones to ensure a gradual progression and avoiding any injuries. For example, if you are out of shape and just starting out, it may take several weeks before you’ll feel comfortable of advancing to a follow-up exercise. Remember not to push yourself too hard, a smart stretch must be controlled, gentle and continuous.
Initial position. Lie on your stomach, stretch your arms in front of you, palms facing downwards. Slightly lift the chest, arms and legs of the mat. Keep the legs and toes extended;
- Raise your right arm and left leg;
- Then raise the left arm and right leg, while returning their opposite to their initial position. Continue the exercise for 10 exchanges. The exchange of the opposite limbs is quick, but smooth.
Make Sure You:
- During the exercise, the muscles of the abdomen should be pulled in and slightly lifted up to limit forward tilt of the pelvis;
- In the initial position, use the spine extensor muscles to lift the upper body, and the leg extensor muscles to lift the legs. Simultaneously take your hands off the mat by using the arm extensor muscles in the shoulder joint and engage the muscles that control your shoulder blades to prevent them from lifting as well;
- As the name of the exercise suggests, the limb movements can be compared to swimming. Imagine the pelvis and lower torso lying on a swimming board and keeping a stable position, while the arms and legs perform the movements.
The main purpose of this exercise is stabilization of the spine, with some additional benefits. While the back extensor muscles actively work, hold the body in the air, the limbs perform alternating movements. This type of movement is an important aspect of the overall motor skills of the body, and is used in many everyday activities such as walking and running.
The rotation of the spine depends on the limb movements. When the left leg is lifted, it is trying to turn the lower left part of the torso. With the rise of the right arm, the torso also tends to turn to the right. To keep the body in a stable position, you need to connect the muscles, turning and extending the spine, particularly the muscles at the left lumbar spine region, which turn the lower part of the spinal column to the right, and the right semispinalis capitis, which turns the thoracic spine to the left. These muscles counteract rotations caused by the movements of the limbs. In this way, “Swimming” allows you to develop spine stability skills by movement of hands and feet, which seek to turn it sideways. In addition, the exercise increases the tone and endurance of the leg extensor muscles.
If you prefer, you can perform this exercise by making five movements while breathing in, and five exchanges while exhaling.