With the cold weather coming in we are more likely to stay inside and significantly decrease our activity levels. Unfortunately when we don’t move, our body will become stiff and weak, making it more difficult to complete daily tasks. This is especially relevant as this is the season of shovelling, an energy consuming task that which requires strength and mobility.
Mobility refers to our strength at end range of motion. By moving actively through a joints motion we keep the muscles strong and the structures healthy. Our thoracic spine (mid back region) must have sufficient flexion (forward bend), extension (backward bend) and rotation mobility, especially when it comes to shovelling the snow as we twist our torso quite a bit. If we don’t have enough mobility, we run the risk of hurting our low back or other surrounding areas as they will try to compensate for our thoracic spines deficit.
Here are a few mobility exercises that can be done before any activity. They are meant to be done slowly, with control and most importantly without pain. Try completing 8-10 repetitions of each exercise, breathing deeply, and with every exhale gently go a little deeper into the next movement as long as there is no pain.
Start with knees under hips and wrists under shoulders
Drop your stomach to the ground and look up to create a “ramp” in your spine
Slowly look towards your belly button, pushing your hands into the ground and tuck your tail bone under to create a “mound”
Seated or standing, low back flat against the wall start with you arms in the shape of a “W”.
Slide your arms up to a “Y” keeping contact with the wall at all times
CHILDS POSE WITH ROTATION:
Start in child’s pose, sitting on heels and arms out in front.
Put one hand on the back of your head and rotate up towards to the ceiling from your spine first and then with your head at the end.
NOTE: If you are feeling extra stiff try taking a warm Epsom salts bath or shower to warm up your muscles prior to these exercises. Move in and out of each exercise carefully. All exercises should be PAIN FREE. If you feel pain during any of these exercises please STOP performing the exercise.
Hopefully these exercises will help relieve any tension you might be feeling in your Thoracic Spine this Winter. Please feel free to contact me at Therapy Lounge if you have any questions about stretches and exercises, or if you would like to book a treatment.