From slouching at your desk
to overdoing at the gym, many everyday activities can lead to back pain.
Regular stretching helps protect your back by increasing flexibility and
decreasing the risk of injury. Done after strengthening exercise, it also helps
prevent muscle soreness.
Safe S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g Tips
Talk with your doctor before
starting a new program of back exercise, especially if you have a history of
spinal problems or back injury. Then follow these general guidelines:
Warm up with 5 to
10 minutes of light activity. For example, walk or pedal a stationary bike at a
comfortable pace. Stretching cold muscles can lead to injury.
avoiding bouncy or jerky movements.
Go only to the
point where you feel mild tension. It shouldn’t hurt.
Relax into the
stretch, and hold for at least 5 seconds.
Below are three easy
stretches that help keep your back limber and healthy.
Lie on your back
on the floor with your legs extended.
Lift and bend
your right leg, bringing the knee toward your chest. Grasp your knee or shin
with your right hand, and pull your leg as far as it will comfortably go.
Remain in the
knee-to-chest position while tightening your abdominal muscles and pressing
your spine into the floor. Hold for 5 seconds.
Return slowly to your
Do the same thing
lifting your left leg.
Do the same thing
lifting both legs at once.
sequence 10 times.
Kneeling Back Extension
Begin on your
hands and knees on the floor. Your hands should be directly under your
shoulders with your arms straight.
putting your weight onto your arms. Round your shoulders, and let your seat
drop a little. Hold for 5 seconds.
sitting your buttocks as close to your heels as possible. Keep your arms
extended straight ahead. Hold for 5 seconds.
Return slowly to
your starting position.
Repeat 10 times.
Standing Back Arch
Stand up straight
with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Put the palms of
your hands on your lower back. Take a few slow, deep breaths to relax.
Bend your upper
body backwards, keeping your knees straight. Support your back with your hands.
Hold for 5 seconds.