exercise is important to prevent back pain and injury.
A program of strengthening, stretching and aerobic
exercises will improve your
overall fitness level. Research has shown that people who are physically
fit are more resistant to back injuries and pain, and recover quicker
when they do have injuries, than those who are less physically fit.
In addition, you should consider maintaining an average
weight for your
following exercises are recommended for
people who currently are not experiencing
back pain. Modifications to this exercise
regimen are necessary if you have back
pain. Do not continue to perform an exercise
which produces pain. Seek the advice
of a physician or physical therapist.
What Exercises Will Help Me Maintain
a Healthy Back?
for a healthy back can be divided into
three basic groups:
- Strengthening: repeated
muscle contractions until the
muscle becomes tired.
or Flexibility: slow,
sustained lengthening of
- Aerobic: steady
exercise using large muscle groups.
of these exercises should be performed slowly
and comfortably to avoid injury. When performing
strengthening and flexibility exercises,
remember to breathe naturally and without
holding your breath; exhale during exertion
and inhale during relaxation.
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of muscles. Muscle strength and endurance provide energy and a feeling
of wellness to help you perform daily, routine activities. Adequate
strength of abdominal and back muscles helps stabilize the spine, allows
proper spinal movement and makes it easier to maintain correct posture.
Strong hip and leg muscles are important to perform proper lifting techniques
and body mechanics. Here are some good strengthening exercises:
Curl Ups-Upper Abdominal: While
lying down with arms at your sides and knees bent, tilt your pelvis to flatten
your back. Raise your shoulders
and head until your shoulder blades clear the floor. Hold for 5-10 seconds,
and repeat 10 times.
Oblique Trunk Raises: Lie
on the floor with your back flat. Raise
your head and bring shoulder toward opposite hip, reaching with your hands, as
shown. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times, and then switch to the other
side and repeat 10 times.
Prone Trunk Raises: Lie
face down with arms beside your body. Tighten
your buttocks and lift your head and shoulders straight up from the floor as
high as you can comfortably go. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat 10
Prone Alternate Arm/Leg Lift: Lie
on the floor, face down with a towel roll under your forehead, stretch arms outward
over your head. Place a pillow
under your pelvis and abdomen. Keep your right knee straight, and lift your leg
1-2 inches above the floor, along with the left arm, as shown. Hold for
5 seconds. Alternate with the other knee and arm. Repeat 10 times,
Flexibility is the ability to move your arms and legs through their full
range of motion. Stretching will help improve your flexibility. Adequate
flexibility of tissues around the spine and pelvis allows full, normal
spinal movement, prevents abnormal force on the joints and decreases
the possibility of injury. Stretching also prepares muscles for activity;
stretching should be done before and after each vigorous workout to prevent
muscle strain and soreness and to help avoid injuries. When performing
flexibility exercises, stretch as far as you can and hold the stretch. Each
stretching exercise should be performed slowly, with no sudden jerking
or bouncing. Bouncing can injure or strain a muscle or joint.
Here are some good stretching exercises:
Down Hamstring Stretch: Lying down
with knees bent, raise one leg, and
supporting the back of thigh with your
hands, attempt to straighten the knee
until a comfortable stretch is felt
in back of the thigh. Hold for
20-30 seconds, and repeat 2-3 times. Repeat
with other leg.
Double Knee to Chest Stretch: Lie
on the floor with your back relaxed
and straight. Pull both knees toward your chest until you feel a stretch
in your lower back, do not bounce. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
Backward Bend: Stand straight with your hands
on your waist. Bend backward, arching your
back as far as you comfortably can while keeping
Hold for 5 seconds.
Repeat 5 times.
Stretch : Resting
one hand on an object for balance, bend one leg,
bringing your foot up behind your thigh, as shown. Grab
the top of your foot and pull the foot toward your
buttock until a stretch is felt in front of the thigh. Hold
for 20-30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times for each
Aerobic exercise provides cardiovascular
conditioning it strengthens
the heart and lungs and improves the bodys ability to use oxygen.
Some other benefits of aerobic exercise includes increased energy levels,
improved mood, better sleep habits and decreased blood pressure. Aerobic
exercise also burns calories and improves your metabolism, helping
with weight loss.
examples of aerobic exercise include:
general, to achieve maximum benefits, you should gradually
work up to an aerobic session lasting 20 to 60 minutes,
3 or 4 times a week. Please check with your physician
or physical therapist before starting any aerobic program. Your
exercise routine should consist of a 5-minute warm-up
(including stretching exercises) before the aerobic
activity and 5 to 10 minutes of a cool down (stretching
activity) after the activity. Here are some precautions
with aerobic exercise:
rope puts too much pressure on the discs
and should be avoided.
can be done as long as it doesnt increase
lower back pain.
walking or running, wear supportive, well-cushioned
shoes and walk or run on a level surface.
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Should I Know About Pain During Exercise?
Do not ignore pain. If
you feel increased pain or pain spreading
to the legs, do not continue the activity.
If you continue to perform the activity
while you are in pain, you may cause
unnecessary stress or damage on your
joints. Seek the advice of a physician
or physical therapist. Fear of pain can
cause unnecessary inactivity, so it is
important to learn to read your body
and know when you need to stop or modify
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