Lifestyle

Benefits of Tummy Time for Adults: It’s More than Just a Baby Exercise


IIt’s time to lie down! If you’re confused looking around, wondering if you’ve accidentally clicked on an article about infant development, know this: You’re in the right place. Yes, tummy time is for adults too.

If you’re still scratching your head and don’t know how much “down time” is, don’t worry. Tummy time is simply the phrase used to place an infant on their stomach (while supervised and awake). The idea is that while lying on their stomach, they will have to use their back and neck muscles to lift their head off the floor. In doing so, it helps to strengthen their tiny bodies.

However, as it turns out, tummy time can also benefit the adult body.

According to a study published in Sports Biology: The Quarterly Journal of Exercise and Sports Science, the authors found that performing the supine position three times a week for 10 weeks improved spinal extensor range of motion. In other words, awake tummy time enhances mobility—something that declines as we age if we don’t focus on stretching and strength training.

The keyword here is alarm. After all, just sleeping on your stomach isn’t going to help strengthen your back. However, if you switch from lying on your back while scrolling, reading, or using a laptop to lying on your stomach, your back can reap the rewards. That’s the beauty of it: You don’t even have to focus on your workout. It’s all about embracing functional movement.

“While lying on your stomach to work on a laptop or scroll through your phone sounds simple enough, it actually requires a lot of movement,” says Lauren Shroyer of the American Council on Exercise (ACE). and strength.

While tummy time for infants is designed to help babies develop a stronger spine, for adults it is aimed at making the spinal structure less stiff. “Adults, especially those who sit most of the day, tend to have spinal stiffness,” says Shroyer. While just flipping back and forth in everyday tasks can get you on the right track, she says adopting a strengthening routine can also be beneficial.

Before setting an unattainable goal, however, Shroyer says to embark on this back-strengthening adventure in the spirit of progress. For example, instead of starting with a supine extension, she suggests doing a series of cat-cow, spine-twisting, and dog-bird stretches. Then, when you can do 15 reps each without great difficulty, move on to the supine extensions and finally the super.

Strengthen your back the right way with these workout tips:

“Like any exercise, you want to make proper progress before starting an advanced exercise; this reduces the risk of injury and/or compensates for other muscles,” she explains. “The muscles along the spine are endurance muscles, so the ideal program consists of three sets of 15 reps each. However, for beginners, less repetitions are good; you can build as you become stronger.

With that in mind, Shroyer points out that if you’re lying on your stomach and your back hurts, you’re probably moving too fast. “If you’re in this pose and feel tired, achy, or achy in your lower back or neck, that’s a sign that you’re compensating and this pose isn’t improving your posture as well,” she says. desire. Shorten your tummy time and exercises, and consider getting advice from a physical therapist to make sure you’re working the right muscles.

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