We could all use a little more extension in our lives. Sitting, driving, texting are all activities that involve spine flexion. Comparatively, how often do you bend backwards? I would bet not very often. Below are a few of my favorite ways to extend the spine. Extension is especially crucial for those with osteopenia or osteoporosis, for many reasons. Decreased bone density leads to a forward flexed spine. Extension exercises will help to decrease the forward curve. Those with osteoporosis are much more susceptible to fractures, especially from falls. Upright posture is associated with decreased falls. Added bonus, extending the spine just feels good.
Pictured here are a few easy, quick extension exercises with written instructions. Stop the exercises if you have any pain. Contact Jamie with questions/concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Thoracic extension over a foam roller (or towel roll, swim noodle, rolled up yoga mat). Hold 5-10 seconds, then float head, neck and shoulders back in line with torso. Repeat 10-30 times. Be sure to stabilize low back.
2. Pull the foam roller towards body, keeping elbows straight. Hold 5-10 seconds, then push roller away from body until torso is on the floor. Repeat 10-30 times. Can be performed without the roller.
3. From hands and knees lower spine towards the floor. Hold 5-10 seconds, then raise spine until it's parallel to the floor. Repeat 10-30 times.
4. Place elbow and forearm on wall/door frame. Rotate entire body away from wall by walking feet to the right (with left arm on wall). Avoid rotating the spine by rotating whole body. Hold 5-10 seconds. Repeat 10-30 times.