Have you been enjoying your Mat Pilates class? There is a lot to remember and your Physiotherapist has suggested practicing your exercises at home.
Kelsey has put together this video for you to follow along with at home. Phew, that is going to make your home practice MUCH easier.
Are you wondering why your physiotherapist has prescribed the Book Opening Mat Exercise for you? When it comes to the back and shoulders, mobilizing the thoracic spine while maintaining a stable lumbar is one of the keys to healthy movement. Interestingly, mobility isn’t just about flexibility. You may well be flexible, but you may still lack the motor control and strength to properly execute movements through their full range of motion. Lacking control leaves you at risk of injury.
The thoracic spine is built for rotation, flexion, and extension. It is highly mobile – or, rather, it has the potential for lots of mobility. Our modern lifestyle leaves us hunched in front of the computer for long periods of time. This causes our thoracic spine to “flex” forward (hunch back) and may cause restrictions in the joints over time. Hunching of the thoracic spine predisposes you to neck, shoulder and lower back pain.
When was the last time you thought about breathing? Normal breathing requires the ribs to move like a bucket handle (they lift to the sides) and create space for your lungs to expand. A lack of mobility in the thoracic spine means less movement can occur at the rib joints and this can make it more difficult to breathe in general, let alone during moments when you need a higher oxygen intake such as when exercising. A good supply of oxygen can come in handy!
In the initial stages of the Book Opening exercise you will begin to feel a wonderful opening up of your spine. As your eyes follow your arm in it’s travel to the other side, it is the front of the shoulders and chest that will be grateful for that opening up feeling. As you are bringing your arm back to the starting position, remember to engage your obliques to maintain control of the rotation.
Watch the video and follow along with Kelsey’s instructions to get the most out of your home practice.