The children were nestled all snug in their beds on a quiet night in December when I first watched this video from The Tummy Team about the pain of wrapping gifts. Turns out this simple task may require some technique to protect a tummy with diastasis recti, or a core that’s just given birth, or older abs that never got the rehab they desperately needed.
I always wrap my gifts on the floor in my bedroom with the door shut because that’s how my mom did it. Her bedroom was “Santa’s workshop.” Being on the floor isn’t necessarily the best set of positions, though, for a person who is in the early stages of core rehabilitation. Still, prior to writing this, I found myself wrapping gifts while holding all kinds of poses and toying with a few tricks to turn gift-giving into a fascia-nating experience.
Wrapping gifts can get you down on the floor, but most people don’t move around on the floor that much, so you can see how that might create some soreness from using un-used muscles. I couldn’t resists using G.I.F.T.S. to help you remember this blog …
Avoid the pain of wrapping gifts with these tips:
G is for … Grabbing all the things before you start wrapping and putting them within easy reach AND being sure to put them back in the same place each time. Even though you get extra movement points whenever you have to chase down the tape which is somehow under 3 presents you haven’t wrapped yet, you can save yourself some strain. I’m not very good at this one … Ha!
I is for … Inserting movement breaks. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes, and stand up and stretch or walk around whenever it goes off. If you aren’t accustomed to being on the floor very much (or standing at a counter wrapping for hours on end) then your body may start to complain. This super cool video on “The Fuzz Speech” is about how we can literally melt our stiff spots after being in one place too long.
F is for … Finding new positions a lot to avoid the pain of wrapping gifts. The more you move around, the less sore and “stuck” you’ll feel later. So don’t do all of it on your knees, or with one leg out. Holding down the paper while you reach for the scissors and tape does different things to your body when you’re kneeling than when you’re sitting with legs folded. Tune into all those different sensations to increase your proprioreception (word of the day: look it up).
T is for … Tightening your transverse abdominus (gently — about 20% of your max) whenever you have to lean over or reach for the pen to label the gift you just finished wrapping. I like the phrase “tummy tight” because it really clicks with most of my clients. However, keep in mind that we don’t want that God-given corset tightening too much. Bearing down and bracing isn’t what we’re doing. Just drawing the navel in gently as you breathe out air (exhale) just before you reach, lean, squat, hop … more on that in this blog here.
S is for … Squatting and stretching, of course! We do not squat or stretch nearly enough as humans. If you aren’t very good at hanging out in a deep squat, check out this free video I made and stuck into this blog that shows you how to bolster yourself in a deep squat so you can work towards doing it without help. According to Katy Bowman of Nutritious Movement, we should be squatting for a total of 1 hour each day. Wow!
Now, if you have sensitive fascia in your abdominals from a recent surgery or diastasis rectus abdominus, then you may want to avoid the floor altogether and use a table or counter like Kelly discusses in her video in order to avoid bending over, which requires strategies for managing abdominal pressure.
Kelly’s abdominal rehab resources are excellent, and you can also learn those basics with Fit2B’s Foundational 5+ course.
Your Turn! Leave a Comment!
Have you noticed low back pain or a bulging belly after lengthy gift wrapping sessions? What are your tips for avoiding the pain of gift wrapping? Where is your favorite place to wrap gifts?