Oh how I love to talk about extension! It is so important to maintain the natural extension of our spine that I can’t help but talk about it again.
What does extension do for us? It lifts our ribs allowing us to take in a deeper breath, it allows for better shock absorption throughout the length of our spine, it positions our muscles at the perfect length to contract, and more. It is our job to maintain our extension as we work against the many forces that are pulling us forward into a flexed position throughout our lives. The force of gravity pulls us forward, the endless daily activities that are performed out in front of our bodies pull us forward, and don’t forget how most of us sleep in a curled up flexed position as well.
I have written about how swimming is a great extension activity, I have encouraged you all to lie for 5 minutes on your stomach each and every day, and I have written extensively about postural awareness helping to extend your spine throughout your day in both sitting and standing positions.
Now I would like to talk about how to get more extension when you walk. This is one of those simple adjustments that you can add to your daily walk outside or even as you walk around the house. It is as simple as exaggerating the push off phase of your walk. “Popping off your toes”. More than likely this will be a change from your normal walk where your heel strike is the dominant force that occurs as your leg reaches out in front of your body. Now, I want you to focus on a strong push off from the ball of your foot, especially your big toe, as your leg is extended behind your body. This simple change in emphasis will automatically decrease the impact of your heel strike and increase the muscle activity on the back side of your body. The beneficial muscles that will be activated include your glutes, your back extensors, your hamstrings and of course your calf muscles.
Give it a try today. This is one of those activities I encourage everyone to do. The teenagers with slouched posture will benefit, the new mom who is always cuddling her newborn will benefit, and men and women working to maintain their posture later in life will benefit. Exaggerate your push off and feel the difference!
I am 55 years old. I went to Disney World in Dec. I rode some fast rides. At the end of a long day, I felt the bulge. I didn’t realize I had a cystocele until then. I got your DVD and I am going to do this, I do not want surgery. I use to exercise on my eliptical 30 minutes a day before this. Can I go back to that, or will my cystocele worsen from that type of exercise?
Thanks for your help.
Susan, I am okay with you working on the elyptical once or twice a week, but not as your primary source of cardio. My reason is simply because you don’t reach a position of extension at any time when you are on this machine. Your body is always in a slightly flexed position with your feet always reaching forward for the next step rather than extending behind your body. Unfortunately,the elyptical reinforces the flexion that we are all in throughout our days and that is not the best for prolapse symptoms nor our posture in general.
Thank you Tasha!!!! I am following your DVD. And will keep reading this site. I wish you were in Florida!!!
I am in my third week of your DVD and I started lesson two. I do the exercises everyday. I looked for a therapist in Fort Myers Florida, the closest was Sarasota. So my Doctor sent me to a physical therapistin Cape Coral, they use Janet Hulme, roll for control. So even tho I have a cystocele ( very little incontinence ) they started me on that program. I am going to continue your workout in the evenings and theirs in the AM. ( I prefer yours, and wish there was someone in my area who did your method.I think it is more useful for my cystocele. ) Will I be undoing anything by doing both. I don’t care if I exercise all day. I do not want surgery. Thanks for your opinion, if this does not work for me, I might have to fly up and see you for a few weeks.
You are certainly doing a great thing with all these workouts! Janet Hulme is a front runner in the field of women’s health so it should be a good program they are impementing. Just be careful not to perform any exercise that causes you to hold your breath or bear down and be careful not to overwork your pelvic floor. Remember I recommend no more than 8-10 max reps on the pelvic floor contraction and elevation. Stay the course for another 3-4 weeks and lets see how you feel.
I am doing better, and I do your DVD almost every night. My physical therapist measures me with a machine and my muscles are getting stronger. I have been using a chair and need to get a ball to sit on. How big is that big blue swiss ball you use? I got one that was 65cm and it was too small for me. I am 5’7″ tall with long legs. I was uncomfortable on that ball and returned it. Any suggestions?
Thanks and looking forward to any new DVD’s you make!!
Your 65cm ball should be perfect. The blue ball I use is also 65cm. They key with inflating the swiss ball is recognizing how much you can inflate the ball. Don’t let the fear of it “popping” stop you. It will expand and get really firm, so my advice is to pump it up. The next size up is 75cm which would be too big for someone your size.
I love tips like this for daily activities. Are there any ways to protect the pelvic floor when doing unavoidable activities like carrying heavy children, coughing, or sneezing? Thanks so much.
Ok , thank you, I love your DVD.
You gave me a great ides on a new blog entry. I just wrote up some good tips for when you feel a rogue sneeze or cough coming on. It should be up on our site within a day or two! Thanks for the idea…as for the “carrying the heavy children”. That is one of the hardest things and something I have not mastered myself, but I refuse to give up holding my kids. I have noticed that as my core strength has improved that this doesn’t produce increased symptoms anymore. Bottom line is that the less you have to thrust your hips forward to carry them the better off you are!
Susan, I use Tasha’s Hab It DVD exclusively – no need for a PT besides this. I’m getting excellent results! It’s not just the workouts, it’s the INFORMATION that she gives us. Learn why each exercise exists and then use it in your daily life.
I have been using the fitness ball (65 cm and I’m 5’8) in place of my computer chair at least an hour a day.
Another possible help for extension while walking – I have been wearing Vibram Bikilas (“barefoot shoes”) exclusively since March. I got them to learn to run in but bought another pair for everyday. So I’m barefoot all the time at home and in barefoot shoes whenever I go out. It’s natural to not heel strike when you’re barefoot – you naturally do a mid foot strike – so it can be a no brainer tip to change footwear.
I so agree with you Tasha, that these things we incorporate into our daily life will help the most. It’s not just about setting aside that half hour to do “our exercises”. Blend those exercises seamlessly into everyday life. Otherwise it’s like a diet – you lose the weight while you’re on the strict diet then go back to the regular diet and gain it all back. We’re subject to concentrate on the DVD during extreme prolapse problem time and then when it gets better we forget and coast for awhile and it gets worse again!
If the ‘exercise’ is just normal, everyday life from now on – then hopefully no more symptoms!