If you have kids or have experience around babies, you would know that tummy time is recommended for babies. It is an important dedicated time each day where the child is put on their stomach and lays on their tummy for a period of time, they can use their arms to prop themselves up as well. Babies are not born with curves in their spine and therefore, curves need to be developed. Tummy time helps with this development as well as strengthening the neck and shoulders, motor development, sensory development, visual development, and helping the body move out of a flexion position that we hold when in the womb. It helps create the development of a healthy nervous system which is essential for every function in our body. As babies develop, they start to move more into an extended position (opposite of fetal position). Their neck isn’t as flexed forward eventually, arching of their back and eventually being upright. Tummy time plays an essential role in development of all of this.
Why would I say that adults should do this too? In modern society, we spend SO much time in a flexed position now. Our natural position should be upright, however with television, phones, sitting in office and just overall modern life, most of us spend our days in chronic flexion (head forward, shoulders forward, weak back and back of neck muscles, weak core, etc.). All of this can lead to an unhealthy nervous system, tension in our bodies, all of our systems and just overall stress.
Tummy time for adults can reverse this time that we spend in flexion all day. All ages can benefit from getting more of this position throughout their bodies.
Benefits of Tummy time (for all ages 0-adult):
Calming to the nervous system
Restoring a normal curve in one’s neck
Increased oxygenation in the body (Covid-19 patients were often put on their stomach to increase oxygen intake abilities)
Improves motor skills, both fine (drawing, writing) and gross (walking, running)
Helps both sides of brain and body connect
Improves flexibility in the hips
Strengthens core as well as important neck/back muscles that often become weak from poor posture
Counteracts the sitting posture that most of us tend to be in throughout the day (being on phone, sitting on office, slouching on couch, watching tv)
And much more!
Laying on your stomach clearly has several positive effects but how should you do it and how long? Laying on your stomach can be as simple as:
spending the time you normally would on your phone but while lying on your stomach. You can read a book, work on the laptop, relax, play a family card game, color or even watch a movie while lying on your stomach.
It might feel uncomfortable at first (if so, that is a sign that your body is used to being in poor posture) but you can start slow and work up to longer times. There is no exact time to doing this but the more the better! This exercise is free and can help put the body in an optimal state.
If tummy time feels uncomfortable, you may want to receive an exam to see if chiropractic is a fit for you. Just call or text 720-722-1622 to see about getting checked!
Let me know how your tummy time sessions go in the comments! Happy tummy time-ing 😊