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Stretching for Back Health

Posted by Dr. Donna Restivo on Sep 10, 2018 7:40:00 AM

In Losing Weight, nutrition, senior exercise tips, Fit at 50

The majority of people go through some type of back pain in their life. Whether it’s due to pregnancy or simply an aging body, back pain can be brutal on your build. And while you may think that the last thing you need to do when you are experience pain is to move, stretching may be the best thing for you. It is the key to preventing and helping ease pain. We all are well aware that exercise is good for the body, but stretching often gets pushed aside, when it is a main component to our daily physical activity. Stretching helps prevent future episodes of pain or injury, you want to be sure that you are executing the stretches properly. 

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Here are a few exercises that will help you get your back in gear. 

  • Prone Extension-While lying on your stomach, use your forearms to prop yourself up, placing your hands at a comfortable distance in front of you. Depending on your flexibility you can slide your arms forward or closer to your body. Lift your chest up as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. You will feel this stretch mostly in your upper and mid back, if you feel any pain in your low back, simply move your hands slightly forward until you feel comfortable. The goal of this stretch is to ultimately have your elbows straightened, allowing your back to extend further. Move in and out of the stretch 10 times, before holding for 30-60 seconds. Repeat three times, every day. 

  • Quadruped Side bend-Start by kneeling and stretching your hands out in front of you. Move your hands to one side so they are at a 45-degree angle (or more) to your body. You will feel a stretch in your back, sides and hips. Move in and out of the stretch 10 times, before holding for 30-60 seconds. Repeat three times before switching to the opposite side.

  • A-Frame-Also known as the “downward facing dog in yoga,” this stretch extends the spine, releasing any tight muscles that run up and down your back and hamstrings. You’ll start with your hands and feet on the floor, in an upside-down V. If you have trouble straightening your legs, don’t fret, with practice you will work up to it. Focus on pushing through your hands to flatten out your back as much as possible. Then, walk your feet forward and drop down into a squat. Keep your hands on the ground if you can. Return to the A-frame position and hold it for 10 seconds, before transitioning into the squat and hold for another 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

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