A pain free back. So few have it. Suddenly, we realize that we all know a million people with a bad back, and we also know a million people that never thought of working out their back. Coincidence? I think not. Back exercise must be really hard then, right?
No way. It only takes less than 10 minutes a week to prevent a strained lower back…really.
Why don’t we do it? We think it’s boring. No one has ever asked us out on a date because our back looks so good. People write songs using the word, but it means something else. Naturally, we devote all of our angst to shaping up things that we don’t want to see jiggling in the wind, like arms, thighs and bellies. I get it. Then we get that first pang of pain and…then pain in the neck and shoulders, headaches, hip disfunction, sciatica, knee pain. Back problems can make grown men want to cry and, contrary to what we thought, WILL affect our physical appeal. It’s not too late to get on a better track.
For the investment of ten minutes a week, before this outcome, the payback is immense. This is all we have to do…
EASY GOAL FOR EVERYONE
1. Do this simple spine stretch THREE times a week for ONE minute. You just get on the floor, inhale filling up the back from top to bottom, fold your body over, initiating in your center, exhaling out of your mouth forcing every vestige of air out, while bracing your abdominals. Pull the crown of your head to the wall in front of you. On your inhales try to relax the muscles around your neck and concentrate on expanding muscles around your spine. On your exhales, try to use your abdominals (bottom to top, and sides) to a greater degree every exhale. Just ONE minute. If you enjoy it, stay longer. You tricked yourself into enjoying something healthy for your boring back.
2. Add to that this ONE easy move. It only takes TWO MINUTES. Lie prone on your stomach. As you engage your abs lift your chest and thighs up. Try your best to keep them engaged. Try to keep your arms in 90 degree angles, sliding the shoulder blades down your back, chin towards your chest to lengthen and relax your neck muscles. And just stabilize the upper body while slooowwwly lifting your legs up and down, without bending the knees. 3 slow counts of 8. That’s it.
WHY THIS WORKS
The superficial back line is a line of fascia that connects us from our browbone to our soles of our feet. It gives full body flexibility and greatly improves our strength to take care of it. Also, this stretch will create much needed space between your vertebrae, which gravity compresses all day.
It’s hard to believe, but it doesn’t take a lot of time and effort to keep your lower lumbar strong. It just needs a little bit of TLC. As you move your legs up and down, you’ll become aware if one side is taking over. That will most often be the case. You can correct that in a few weeks by squeezing your side harder on the weaker side, even lifting the leg higher for a few reps. It’s an amazing accomplishment, you didn’t even know you needed until you tried this. Your stronger lower back muscles, and abdominals will bear the brunt of the stress that was always gathering in the spine. You’ll gain awareness and correct bad tendencies you may have had, like “scrunching” one side more than the other throughout the day.
Remember…your job, your stresses, family responsibilities, even recreation will all contribute to poor alignment and back pain. Bring balance to your back for just ten minutes a week. With a healthy, flexible back you’ll be able to rock this awesome pose Bill (pictured above) is in! Big payoff for little effort, don’t you think?