Hello! If you’ve ever woken up in the morning and said “oooooooh, my aching back” you’re definitely not alone. About 31 million adult Americans have had either acute or chronic back pain at some time in their life. So today I thought I’d share some simple exercises to strengthen back muscles.
By having a strong back you can reduce your chances of getting back pain. Before I get into the exercises though, I want to give you some background on how back pain affects the population. Research has led to the following findings in the United States regarding back problems, I don’t have data for any other countries.
- It’s become the leading cause for disability claims
- 2nd largest reason for doctor visits behind upper respiratory infections
- Experts predict with the current trend that 80% of the adult population will experience some type of back pain in their lifetime
- Approximately 50 billion dollars is spent annually in health care costs related to back pain, the ACE (American Council on Exercise) published a very informative article on back pain you can see here.
There are some things you can do to lessen your chances of being a victim of back pain.
1. Sedentary – People who lead sedentary lifestyles and don’t exercise 150 minutes a week or more are more prone to suffer back pain.
2. Posture – Whenever your mother told you to sit up straight as a child there was a reason behind it. By having poor posture you put a strain on your back muscles that’s unnecessary. This can also make you more susceptible to back pain or injuries.
3. Obesity – Another way to reduce your risk of back pain or injury is to maintain a proper weight. Those who are obese or overweight have more stress placed upon their back.
4. Poor Movement – Not using proper movement techniques can also lead to back injuries. Squatting down and lifting with your legs instead of your back is one example of minimizing your chances of back injuries or pain.
Next, I’d like to share a few simple back exercises that can help strengthen your back and make it more flexible. They’re designed to help muscles in your lumbar area which is the lower part of your back. I thought I’d focus on the lower back region since the majority of people’s back pain is in that spot.
A note of caution though, if you currently have, or have had a history of back problems, please check with your physician before doing these exercises.
Kneeling Back Stretch
To do this exercise you start out by getting on your knees and placing both hands on your hips. Then you lean back as far as you can. Once you’re at that point, hold that position for 10 seconds. Then bring your trunk forward until you’re in the same position you started. Do the movement using a 10 second hold 3 times.
For this one you start out laying on your back with your knees flexed, feet flat on the floor, and palms of your hands facing downward on the floor next to your legs. Then you raise your butt off the floor while pushing down with your hands.
You raise your butt up as far as you can and hold that position for 10 seconds. After 10 seconds lower your butt back down to the floor, and then repeat the move 3 times.
To do this movement you start out laying on your stomach with your arms stretched out straight in front of you. Your hands should be perpendicular to the floor with fingers and thumb close together.
Then you raise both arms and both legs off the floor at the same time. Hold that position for 10 seconds before lowering your arms and legs, then repeat the movement 3 times.
For this exercise you get in the same starting position you did as the Superman. Then you raise one arm off the floor and the opposite leg off the floor at the same time. Hold that position for 10 seconds, and then repeat the process using the opposite arm and opposite leg. Do it a total of 3 times for each arm and leg.
Standing Sideways Stretch
To do this exercise you start out standing with your arms straight out to your sides and palms facing up. Then you turn your trunk to one side until the opposite arm is lined up to your front.
Another words, if you turn your trunk to your right, then you should stop when your left arm is directly in front of you facing forward. Once you’ve reached that position hold it for 10 seconds.
After 10 seconds, move your trunk back to the same position you started. Do it for a total of 3 times to each side with a 10 second hold each time. I’ve posted a couple photos to help show the movement.
Summary – Back pain continues to grow in the United States with more and more cases being reported each year. To avoid becoming a statistic, it’s important that you not only take care of your back, but also be wise with your daily movements.
Back exercises are one way to make your back stronger and help prevent injuries and pain. If you have any experiences regarding back pain or how you prevent it that you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments section.
Or, if you have a general comment or question please let me know and I will get back to you. Thanks for reading everyone and watch your back!