Is back pain preventing you from reaching your exercise goals? Believe it or not, exercise is the key to reducing pain. Sure, you might feel some pain when you start a new fitness routine after being out of the gym for too long, but a little soreness is normal. It’s nothing compared to the pain you’ll feel down the road if you don’t keep your body strong and fit.
Avoiding the gym is not the answer…being smart at the gym is. One of the number one reasons people feel pain, especially in their back, is because they aren’t practicing proper technique. So the first thing you want to do is speak with a trainer and make sure you’re doing it right! Second, you should focus on strengthening your core muscles (abs, back, and pelvis). Strengthening the core muscles that support your spine can prevent, reduce and even eliminate back pain.
Here are a few exercises and even some equipment that can help strengthen and support these muscles. As always, check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine or product.
Begin on all fours, hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Inhale as you drop your stomach towards the floor and look up over your head.
Exhale as you bring your stomach back up, rounding your back as you tuck your chin in and tuck your tailbone in. Move slowly and controlled between these two positions pausing on each pose. Repeat 5 times.
1. Lie on your back with your knees bent. Slowly bring your eft knee to your chest, making sure your lower back is flat and still touching the ground. Hold this position for 5 seconds and relax the left leg. Do the same with your right knee. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
2. Bring your chin down to your chest and bring up your knees so that you’re hugging them to your chest tightly. Hold the position for 15 seconds and then release. Repeat.
3. Lie flat on back; bend knees at 90-degree angle, feet flat on floor. Tighten abs. Raise buttocks off floor, keeping abs tight. Tighten buttocks. Shoulder to knees should be in straight line. Hold for a count of five. Slowly lower buttocks to floor. Repeat five to fifteen times.
4. Stand with knees slightly bent. Interlace fingers, extend arms forward at shoulder level. Turn palms out and reach your arms further until you feel a stretch. Hold 30 seconds.
5. Lie on stomach, arms reached out past your head with palms and forehead on floor. Tighten abs. Lift one arm (as you raise your head and shoulders) and the opposite leg at the same time, stretching them away from each other. Hold for 5 seconds and then switch sides. Repeat 5 – 10 times.
6. Lie flat on your stomach. Lift your upper body off the floor with the support of your arms, all the while keeping your stomach touching the floor. This will result in a upper curve of your back. Hold this position till you feel the stretch across your back.
INVERSION TABLES: Exercising on an inversion table is particularly good for spinal health. Inverted ab crunches, side-to-side stretches, and other exercises work the major muscle groups without putting a lot of pressue on the spine. Inversion tables also allow joints and the spine to elongate, relieving some of the pressure built up during the day. Find out more here!
FOAM ROLLERS: Foam rollers offer many of the same benefits as traditional massage, but without the steep price tag. They enable you to massage deep into your muscles, including self-myofascial release. Fascia is a connective tissue that binds your muscles, bones, nerves, and joints. Using Foam Rollers can enhance balance, body awareness, muscle re-education, motor planning, neural and muscular flexibility, and dynamic strengthening.
Here are some foam rollers worth checking out.
EXERCISE BALLS: These offer excellent benefits when it comes to improving posture, core strength, and abdominal muscles. It helps work a variety of different muscles simultaneously, forcing the body to balance itself. With regular use, the Exercise Ball can help strengthen and tone muscles, improve balance and coordination, and increase flexibility. Click here for more info.
MEDICINE BALLS: This is a versatile exercise tool that’s both a medicine ball and a dumbbell (Dual-Grip Medicine Ball). As a medicine ball it’s ideal for strengthening your core and improving overall muscle tone, or for rehabilitating sports injuries. Built in handles let you use the ball for weight training on your chest, back, shoulders and arms, and your lower body too. Anyone can use it, from beginners to trained athletes.
RESISTANCE BANDS: Can be used to exercise muscles without cumbersome free weights. These multi-layered latex tubes are break-resistant and strong to ensure safety when working on shoulders and arms, crunches and squats, core workouts and more. Find out more here.