Reducing existing back pain and fending off any future back pain should be a priority for just about everyone. This medical inconvenience plagues a vast number of Americans, but there are things you can do right now to improve your back health.
Whether you’re multitasking while watching TV or are stuck at home due to the pandemic, there are a number of exercises that are easy and can be performed just about anywhere, including the comfort of your own home!
To help you unlock the health benefits of at-home activity, we’ve put together a guide to a few of our favorite back-friendly exercises. Check them out below!
When most people think of exercise, their minds drift to running the mile in PE class or pumping iron at the gym. In actuality, stretching is equally as—if not more—important as more “active” forms of exercise. Proper stretching improves your flexibility and strength, both of which reduce the possibility of injury.
One of our favorite stretches for a healthy back is the cat-cow stretch. If the name makes you giggle, let us assure you—this stretch can provide serious relief!
To perform this stretch, get on your hands and knees. Start by pushing your belly toward the floor and looking toward the ceiling (cow). Take a big steady breath as you transition to arch your back and tuck your chin to your chest (cat). Exhale slowly as you return to the starting position!
This exercise is perfect for strengthening your back and core while simultaneously making you feel like one of the world’s most iconic superheroes. Instead of soaring through the clouds, though, you’ll be flying toward a stronger, healthier back!
To execute this super move, lie facedown on the ground. We recommend putting a yoga mat or similar surface between you and the floor, but it’s entirely up to you. At the same time, raise your legs and chest off the ground with your arms outstretched before you. Your weight should rest on your hips and abdomen. Hold the pose for a moment, then return to the starting position in a controlled manner.
Your posterior chain includes all of the muscles on the back of your body. From the smaller muscles in your neck to your calves, these muscles are vital in maintaining proper posture and a pain-free back. Strengthening several of these muscles at once is advantageous, as they all work together to make you as healthy as possible.
That’s why we recommend glute bridges. While this exercise does place emphasis on the glutes, everything from your back to your core is also being engaged and worked.
To properly perform this movement, start with your head, back, and glutes flat against the ground and your feet firmly planted on the ground. Press your feet into the ground and lift your butt into the air, using your upper back and arms to stabilize. Squeeze your glutes at the top while maintaining engagement in your back and core. Slowly return to the starting position.