Exercises to Avoid Back Pain
Back pain is commonly caused by a tightening of the muscles and tendons in the back, buttocks, quadriceps and hamstrings (upper leg muscles). This is generally the result of a muscle or muscle group that isn't strong enough or stretched often enough. Muscles become shorter when they are not stretched or strengthened and can pull the spine out of position, causing your back to be stiff and movement to be painful.
A regimen of back exercises can help keep the muscles limber and ready for action.
Several exercises can be used to stretch out the back, chest and abdominal muscles. Do each exercise five times to start.
The Cobra is a back-stretching variation of a push up. Lie on your stomach with your palms down and placed under your shoulders. Slowly push up with your arms and arch your back. Hold this position for three seconds and then return your body to the ground.
Do the Basic Twist by lying on your back, knees up to your chest and your arms extended out to your side. Bring your knees down, first to the right and then to the left. Hold them at the lowest point for three seconds and then bring them back to center.
Do the Cat by getting on your hands and knees, hands under your shoulders, knees under your hips. Drop your stomach toward the floor, tipping your head back as you do. Hold it for three seconds and then bring your back up past straight and, at the same time, tip your head down so that your chin is on your chest. Hold this for three seconds as well.
Stretching out the gluteal muscles of the buttocks is important to back health as well.
Do the Knee to Chest by lying on your back flat on the floor with legs bent so that your feet are also flat on the floor. Tightening your stomach muscles, loop your hands behind one of your knees and pull that knee up to your chest. Hold this position five seconds and then release. Repeat five times with each leg.
Do the Piriformis Stretch by sitting on a chair with your legs straight. Put your right ankle over your left leg and lean forward going as far as you can. Hold this position for five seconds and the switch legs.
Quadriceps and Hamstring Stretches
The legs can help keep back pain away as well.
Do the Wall Back Stretch to work the quadriceps by leaning your back against a wall and pressing your lower back and neck against the wall and hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat five times.
Do the Quadriceps Stretch by standing on one leg and using your hands to reach back and pull the free foot up towards your buttocks. Alternate legs, repeating five times, holding the position 5 to 10 seconds each.
Stretch your hamstrings by lying on your back with your legs straight and interlacing your fingers under your thigh. Pull up until you feel your hamstrings stretching out. Hold the position for five seconds and then do the other leg.