When you were a child, you likely played in a playground on the monkey bars, climbed a netted structure or climbed up the slide instead of down it. I watch children all the time at playgrounds and marvel at the functional movement, agility and strength they are acquiring as they play. Of course, they see this as simply 'FUN'!
Rarely do we, as adults, go to the park and simply hang on a piece of equipment. Unfortunately by not doing exactly that, we lose the strength to do it as well as the many benefits it offers our bodies. Our shoulders are designed to move in all directions including up, so if we don't reach over our head frequently "stretch" - they can grow tighter and less mobile.
Hanging from a bar or rings is an easy way to let your shoulders experience their full range of motion while decompressing and stretching out your spine. A passive 'dead hang' allows the shoulders & latissimus dorsi (Lats) muscles to relax; gravity will allow for a passive hang. An active hang will engage these muscles as you can elevate & depress the scapula/ shoulders blades to strengthen. You can always move to more challenging monkey bar swings when you feel ready.
Hanging also improves our grip strength and endurance. It is a very measurable exercise, similar to planking, as you can work your way up to a 10, 20, 30 second grip hold. If your physical condition does not allow you to hang, use a box or support underneath you. You can then lift your feet off knowing it will be there for you when you need it.
Next time you see a bar or a rope/rings at a playground structure, give hanging a try......
You're never too old to HANG & Play....
Yours in health & wellness, Christy
PS. Please follow me @ChristyPilates on instagram to watch the development of my NEW Playground workout, coming to you this Spring. You'll see many active HANGING exercises!