Back pain is a very real daily reality for many people, so much so that the idea of living with and maintaining a pain-free back might seem like a fairytale. If you or someone you care about falls into this category, we have good news—you can improve the health of your back and potentially reduce pain by embracing some basic exercises.
Strengthening and improving the mobility of the muscles in and related to the back can contribute to stability, reduced pain, and overall back health. Best of all, you don’t have to be a professional athlete (or anything close to it) to perform these exercises and reap the benefits!
You should, of course, consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise regime to determine what is advantageous and safe for your body and health. Also, don’t push yourself if an exercise hurts in a traumatic way (in other words, if it’s beyond normal muscular effort and soreness). With that in mind, read on to discover a few of our favorite back exercises!
For an effective lower back exercise that doesn’t require any equipment or weights, look no farther than supermans. This easy move is great for strengthening your back extensors, which run along the spine to help support it and your overall posture.
To perform this exercise, simply lie on your stomach with your arms extended forward and your legs stretched out behind you. Lift your hands and feet off the ground simultaneously. You should feel the muscles in your lower back contract. Keeping your eyes focused on the ground to avoid neck strain, engage your core, reach away with your hands and feet, and lift your belly button off the floor ever-so-slightly. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the beginning position.
With most of these exercises, you’ll notice that they work the muscles in your back and those in your lower body. Bridges are no different, as they certainly engage back muscles, but also emphasize the glutes.
To begin the movement, lie on the ground with heels on the floor and knees bent. Taking care to engage your abdominal muscles and glutes, push your heels into the floor and lift your hips. Avoid arching your lower back as you create a straight line between your shoulders, hips, and knees. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.
As the opposing muscle group to your back muscles, the core is integral in back health. By strengthening both muscle groups, you set yourself up for well-rounded improvement. When choosing core exercises, it’s important to be selective. For example, partial crunches can benefit your back greatly, while full sit-ups may actually worsen back pain by being more hip-dominant and straining the spine. This is where consulting a professional can be especially helpful!
If done with proper technique, lifting weights can be very beneficial to back health while remaining low risk. This the often the next step toward progress and improved overall health but should be done with the guidance of a professional, especially if you are unfamiliar with weightlifting.
Your back doesn’t have to be a lost cause; there are many exercises that can drastically improve your back health and reduce pain if performed correctly and consistently. For more information on these and other exercises, as well as personalized guidance for your unique circumstances, consult with your doctor. They’d be happy to evaluate which exercises would be beneficial and safe for you!