Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Back Extensions for Writers and Non Writers

Last week I blogged about Charles Dickens and the stretches I hoped he did after his daily constitutionals. Well, Dickens, as well as all writers, sit at a desk or table for hours, creating their stories, and if they're like me, their backs get tight. ( I suppose I should have used "sat" for Dickens 'cause he's sure not sitting anymore - though I really can't be sure now, can I?)

Anyway, no matter how hard I try not to hunch over my laptop, as I get into my charaters, my mind is not on posture - it's on the story. So, inadvertantly, no matter how many times I remind myself not to, I wind up slouching. My fitness clients probably are getting a kick out of that statement since I'm always telling them to stand or sit up straight, "pull your belly in", "relax your shoulders".

Dickens didn't have a laptop, but I'll bet he was bent over his writing table, pen clutched in fingers, scribbling down his bon mots. And as all authors, then and now, he needed to stand up and stretch out.

You don't have to be an aspiring novelist, or a published one, to push away from your desk and stretch. Anyone spending a lot of time seated, focused on any type of work, on the computer or on paper, can benefit from a back extension.

Below is a picture of me in a back extension. Notice how my hands are supporting my spine and that my chin is level. Yes, my eyes are looking up, but my chin is not raised.
  •  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  •  Place your hands on your buttocks and bend your knees slightly.
  • Contract your abdominals
  • Retract your head - just a bit - (as if you just smelled something awful)
  • Now, gently, bend backwards to where you are comfortable - keep your nose and chin level -
  • The front of your neck is comfortable, DO NOT STRETCH IT
  • Okay, now you can look up a little - Still, no stretching the front of your neck!!


                                        Now, to get back to standing position

  • Contract your abdominals and glutteals (your buttocks' muscles)
  • Contract your quadriceps (muscles in front of your thighs)
  • Use the above contracted muscles to roll you up to a standing position
Doesn't that feel good? So many things we do in a day, not only working on the computer, makes us bend forward which puts our spines in flexion. Think about all the times you bend forward to pick up something off the floor, take something out of the refrigerator, oven, or a drawer, to pick up a baby, tie your shoes, etc. The muscles of the spine want to go into extension, now and then, to combat the ill effects of too much flexion.  Just go easy when you perform this extension - and breath!

If you have a serious spine issue, or any limitations, consult with your doctor before performing a back extension. There are some situations, spinal stenosis for one, when a back extension can be contraindicated.







No comments:

Post a Comment