09 Aug Abdominal Rolling the Why and How
Written by Nicole Marlow (Accredited Exercise Physiologist)
One of my all-time favourite rolling exercise to do, is rolling my tummy!
For anyone who I have prescribed this exercise too, you will remember that trepidation that you experienced when I first mentioned it …. I’m sure most people think I’m slightly crazy when I first say it but trust me, if you haven’t tried it yet give it a go! I promise after the initial thoughts of this is so weird, you will love it and it will soon become a staple in your exercise routine.
So why should you drape yourself over the over-ball regularly?
There are so many reasons why abdominal rolling is good for you, so here is my top 5;
- Reduces period pain
- It reduces abdominal bloating and helps with constipation
- It reduces anxiety and stress levels
- Improves the quality of your sleep
- Improves breathing efficiency
So how does it do all these amazing things and more?
All of the amazing benefits of rolling your abdominal area can be attributed to the activation of the Parasympathetic nervous system. This activation occurs when you begin the exercise.
The Parasympathetic nervous system is also known as the rest and digest system as its activation results in:
- Slowing of the heart rate, which can be very useful when dealing with anxiety
- Increased blood flow to the digestive system, which helps with the feeling of being bloated, and also helps move stool through the digestive tract. An increase in blood flow to the digestive tract results in a reduction in constipation
- Increased digestive enzyme release, which results in our food being digested
- Reduced blood pressure
- Improved immune system functioning, which is particularly important for those of us who are dealing with autoimmune conditions, or fighting off a common cold or flu
So now you understand the logic behind why we prescribe this exercise, let’s get rolling!
How to do a tummy release
You will need a soft ball (overball or chi ball) which is partially deflated and a yoga block or pillow.
Please note, the following people should not complete this exercise:
- If you are pregnant
- If you have a heart condition
- If you have difficulty getting up and down off the floor
Remember it is always best to talk to a health professional before commencing a new exercise program.
Step 1: Lay on your tummy place the ball at the base of the sternum, for beginners I suggest staying on your elbows and forearms to reduce the pressure.
Try and relax into the ball, feeling as if your body is melting over the ball, rather than bracing through your abdominal muscles. Slowly breath into your belly, as you exhale you should feel the ball sink in to your stomach a little more each time.
Stay in this position for approximately 2 mins
Note: In this position you will commonly have a greater awareness of your heart beat, don’t be concerned this is normal, however if it makes you feel uncomfortable progress to step 2.
Step 2: Move the ball down to the belly button, again for beginners stay on your elbows and forearms, for an advanced version rest your forehead onto your hands or on a yoga brick. Slowly breath into your belly, as you exhale you should feel the ball sink in to your stomach a little more each time.
Stay in this position for approximately 2 mins, over the two minutes you can move your torso to focus on one side more than the other.
Step 3: Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Place the ball between your shoulder blades and a pillow under your head. Bring your arms out in line with your shoulders, palms facing up.
Spend 2-5 minutes in this position, focusing on breathing into your belly.
Beginners & Experienced rollers
After completing this sequence, you should feel nice and relaxed! Enjoy.
If you have any questions, please contact one of our friendly staff members.