You may be exercising several times a week doing resistance and aerobic work. That’s good – keep it up! Yet, how often do you stretch before you do your exercise routine? A little? None? Many people neglect to stretch their muscles adequately before beginning their exercise routines or even doing a job that involves physical labor. If you’re one of them, you could wind up with low back pain, especially if you’ve pulled muscles in your back before.
Stretching is not just smart before you start doing resistance or aerobic exercise; it’s also a good idea to do first thing in the morning when you get out of bed and for a few minutes before you go to bed. Here are some good ones:
Simple, Easy, Stretches Prevent and Relieve Back Pain
The following stretching exercises can limber up your lower back muscles as well as strengthen them. If you have to lift objects, or bend to pick objects up, during your job, or just doing work around your home, stretching out your back muscles can warm them up so they’re much less prone to injury. Best of all, they don’t take very long to do – only 1 minute! In 10 short minutes you could have performed 2 sets of 5 back-building moves that can help you get through your day without pain.
It helps if you do these stretches after you get out of the shower as the hot water further helps to loosen up back muscles. However, some people may want to do them before taking a shower. Also, do a few general whole body stretches first to just stretch everything out after being in bed all night. Try these:
1. Standing with your feet 1 foot apart, reach your hands overhead, palms toward the ceiling. Slowly bend over and touch your fingertips down as far as you can – your knees, your calves, your toes, maybe even the floor? Repeat a few times.
2. Standing with your feet 1 foot apart, your arms outstretched to each side like an airplane. Twist slowly to each side, stopping in the middle before going to opposite side. Repeat several times.
3. Standing straight, reach one hand overhead as far as you can, you should feel the muscles all along your side and buttocks stretch. Repeat on the opposite side. Do 3 sets.
Now you’re ready to stretch out your lower back muscles…
Many of these stretches are based on simple Yoga-like moves. Do them on a padded exercise mat or on a stationary rug on your floor. Below are the descriptions, but you can also view two video’s which demonstrate them, at the bottom of this article.
1. Lay flat, face down on your mat, your hands palm-down to the side of you. Now, push yourself up by your palms, and bend back at the waist. Stretch your neck slowly upward so that you’re looking up slightly higher than your head. Hold this pose for 60 seconds. Repeat twice.
2. Now, lie on your back with your arms down to your side, palms down touching the floor, your knees bent at an angle, feet flat on the floor. Now, pushing down with your hands and feet, raise your hips up off the floor and hold for 60 seconds. Repeat twice.
3. Now, still laying on your back, raise your knees to your chest slowly, toes pointing upward. Gather your arms around your knees and hold for 60 seconds. Repeat twice.
4. Get a sturdy chair with a high back. Stand straight facing the back of the chair, holding onto the top of the chair. Now, raise one leg out behind you slowly as far as you can go without causing imbalance. Repeat 4 times. Now, switch legs and do the same on the other side.
5. Lay back down on your mat or rug, your arms down at your side, hands flat on the floor. Bend your knees to a 90 degree angle, and slowly lower your knees toward your chest. Repeat 4 times.
Stretching should feel good to your muscles – it lengthens them and pulls out any kinks from sitting, or lying, for long periods. It should be enjoyable not painful. So, do them slowly and deliberately to make sure your muscles are warming up before going on to your exercise routine or doing any physical labor.