Tummy time for seniors
Pediatricians consider a baby’s “tummy time” as the catalyst for all subsequent motor skills development: sitting up, crawling, standing, and walking. During tummy time, a baby learns to lift up the weight of its own head, which helps with forming the neck muscles that are necessary for a strong, upright spine.
As babies continue to demonstrate to us, the head is the first weight you must learn to lift. It's also the weight we carry on our shoulders each and every day of our lives. If our neck weakens, the head can weigh down our shoulders and cause the back to hunch over. Tummy time, as it turns out, is the solution to this eternal problem.
- Find a soft place to lay down on your belly. A soft patch of grass, your bed, any place soft where you can feel safe and comfortable.
- Spread your arms out so they are not a hindrance.
- Lift up your head and lengthen your neck.
- Relax your shoulders.
- Feel your spine lengthen from the waist, through the shoulders, to the top of your head.
- Now, just like a baby would, look around the room to explore your surroundings.
- Fixate your gaze toward a specific point and grow the length of your spine toward it as you breathe. Remember, your mind is weightless. Your only concern should be growing toward that spot
- When you tire, rest your head to one side, just like a baby would. Then, lift your head, follow the above steps again, and fixate your gaze toward another growth point.
- Rest your head to the other side, and repeat steps 1-9 until you feel ready moving on to the next exercise listed below.
- Continuing to lay on your tummy, place your hands against the ground. The surface can be soft or hard, whichever your prefer.
- Just like a baby wanting to lift itself for the first time, use the strength of your arms to propel the chest upwards.
- Hold the position for a few seconds before repeating, or as long as you are comfortable doing so. Take caution not to over-exert or strain yourself.
- Alternate between chest lifts and head lifts for as long as you like.
Spending time on your tummy is the true fountain of youth for keeping your gaze sky-high and not weighed down. Remember to practice every day, and you will come back full-circle to your infant you, when the weight of our heads (and the world!) felt much lighter than it does today perhaps.
For more ideas on how to stretch and exercise safely as we age, visit Charlie on the web!
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