Now before you get this, let me tell you exactly what it does so you know it’s right for you.
I found this way to strengthen and balance the pelvis, hips and back; what is also called the Core. It’s been very useful for me and our clients for years and I want to let you know about it so you can do it for yourself and notice differences in how you walk, run and feel right away.
It’s really a simple exercise but takes some concentrating on form. Pretty easy to do once you get the idea. I learned it from our Pilates instructor Kate Kruuse, years ago and have found it awesome for fixing up the back and hips and making running and walking easier.
Here’s what to do:
First, test how you feel. Walk around or jog around for a minute to see how you feel now. Just pay attention to how your feet feel on the ground; how tall you feel; how loose or tight you feel.
Here’s the exercise.
Lying on your back on the floor; not a bed, bend your knees up so your feet are on the ground about hips width apart. Place your hands on your belly button. Now just breath in and out gently but notice the breath.
As you breath out allow your belly button to fall toward the floor or toward the spine. Just let go and allow the belly button to fall toward the floor. Keep doing this type of breathing and noticing the belly button let go.
With your hands notice any tension in your belly muscles and let them go with each breath out. See how much you can let go of the tension in your belly muscles.
Do this for 2 to 3 minutes or more, but only while you are concentrating on letting the belly button fall towards the floor.
Once you feel you’ve been able to let go and let the belly button fall for a few minutes. Stand up and walk around.
Re-test how you feel walking or jogging for a minute again and notice how your feet feel on the ground; how tall you feel; how loose or tight your hips feel. How you are swinging your legs as you walk.
What you might notice is how you feel taller, stronger, with a greater ease of walking and looser in the hips; yet somehow stronger too.
How did this happen?
There is a phenomena called reciprocal inhibition. What that means is when you contract a muscle like your top or front of the thigh muscle the opposite muscle say for example the back of the thigh muscle relaxes. It’s a neurological effect. The body has nerves that tell the spinal cord what the muscle is doing and the spinal cord can then tell muscles to either relax or tighten up.
When you let go of the belly muscles, the deep core muscles; the ones that actually support your spine, get stronger because the nerves going to them tell them to contract and stabilize the back.
This is how the hips then can relax. The hips no longer have to contract to try to stabilize the back and can let go and swing and actually work better once the core strengthens up.
The cool thing is it can happen in a few minutes! So try this and do it everyday for a few days for 3 to 5 minutes and let me know what you notice.
You know you’re obviously really serious about strengthening your Core; you already have made a commitment to learn how your body works and to get stronger and healthier. You already do this now.
You might want more information of how we progress this exercise with Pilates and Physical Therapy exercises. And if you might like more information on how to fix up your back or spine or other conditions you’ve been having, call me at 619.840.9755 or email me here. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ralph Havens Physical Therapy, Bellingham, WA
P.S. Try this exercise out for 2 to 3 minutes and notice how your back and hips feel and how your walking or running changes immediately after doing this. It’s simple and it works. And let me know if you might like help with your back or hips or other conditions which may be limiting you. There is a way to work intelligently with your body to heal.