Video transcription

Hi, I'm Eve White with Pilates Studio City, and I'm going to talk to you about back strengthening exercises for seniors. It's really important for the upper back to lift up and often times we're afraid of doing that motion, of lifting up into the back. It feels scary, it feels vulnerable and we spend most of our time these days looking down and bending forward into flexion. So, the exercise we're going to focus on today involves extending the back or lifting up. That's really important for bone density and for taking pressure off of the interior disk. So, the interior part of the disk or the vertebra is the part that's the most inside your body. We want to take the pressure off those discs and extending helps us to do that, to open up the spaces between the vertebra in that direction. So, I'm going to show you an exercise and add a few pieces to that. We're going to put a towel down on the floor, that's for the face, and you're just going to lay and rest your head on that. We're also going to use a little pillow, and that's to go under the stomach or under the front of the pelvis, so it's a little more comfortable to lay there. Also, if you don't have anything under your stomach, you might be tempted to over-arch your lower back, and that can be dangerous. So, we want to keep the belly engaged, and the best way to do that is to give it a little bit of support. So, we're going to put that pillow down as well. Carefully coming on to all fours, you'll bring your legs behind you, and slowly lower your body to the floor, reset the towel wherever you need it for your forehead. So, you'll simply rest the forehead on the towel when you get to the floor. You'll bring your hands right underneath your shoulders, and your elbows are going to be touching the floor. They're going to stay there for this exercise. We're going to lower the head down toward the floor and inhale. On the inhale, you want to pull your belly button into your spine and tilt your pelvis so that the back elongates. That's really important to maintain through the whole exercise. You're going to inhale and then exhale, lift the head and look up slightly. Now, it's important here that the shoulders don't fall forward, but that they stay lifted and you feel your shoulder blades pull toward one another. Also, you don't want to lift too high. We don't want to feel this in the lower back, just the upper back. If you feel a little too smushed here, you can take your arms out to the sides and lift and try to get those shoulder blades together. So, that's an option. You can be here or you can be here. You're going to lower and lift, five to six times, feeling a lift in the upper back. Another thing to notice to make sure that you don't jut your chin way up, that will shorten the neck and cause a kink in the neck sometimes. So, keep your chin so that you could look down or you can look up but you don't look up by moving the head. Keep the back of the neck long just like the lower back and lower down. The second component to this exercise is to extend the arms off the floor. I'm going to let my forehead rest on the towel and extend my arms out to a T, hovering them above the floor. I'm going to inhale, exhale, pull the belly button in, push the pubic bone down and float the head and chest off the floor holding this for a five count. I'll lower and lift. Think of engaging your shoulder blades toward one another and allowing the arms to hover until you feel a little bit of fatigue, and then relax back down. I'm Eve White, and this is a back strengthening exercise for seniors.