Back pain plagues millions of US citizens over the course of their lifetime. Back pain can be due to repetitive strain on the back, an acute injury to the back, bone wear and tear on the back or even from simple fatigue. Some experience back pain because they work in a sitting job and the back is weakened due to lack of exercise.
Many cases of back pain can be avoided by exercising your back in a healthy way that strengthens the muscles and ligaments so that back pain will not be a problem again.
Strengthen The Core
The back is not the only thing that keeps your body upright. Your abdomen, together with your back, represents the “core” of your body. Both parts need to be functioning in order for you to have the ability to stand, stretch, and bend appropriately.
Perhaps one of the best exercises for a healthy back includes abdominal exercises. A weak abdomen puts too much pressure on the back to take on functions the abdomen needs to participate in.
Abdominal exercises strengthen the overall core and will help you have a strong and healthy back.
What abdominal exercises work best?
Something as simple as sit ups can help strengthen the abdominal muscles so that the core is strengthened. The exercises can be done in several ways to strengthen the upper, middle and body muscles. For example:
- Sit ups with your legs straight—this strengthens the upper abdominal muscles
- Sit ups with your legs bent—this strengthens the middle abdominal muscles
- Lying down and lifting your feet off the floor—this strengthens the lower abdominal muscles
Try to do these three kinds of sit-ups in different sets of ten at a time and you will have a strong core that will help your back keep your body strong. As mentioned, you should do sets of ten of each of the three types of exercises and do about ten sets a day. This involves about three hundred different exercises that may make your abdomen sore for a day or so.
Pilates is another core strengthening form of exercise. Pilates is best learned through a DVD lesson or personalized lessons from a Pilates instructor. It is a toning type of exercise that strengthens the core, including the abdominal and back muscles. The exercises are easily learned and can be a part of your daily exercise routine.
Simple Back Exercises
You can strengthen the back alone although most exercises that strengthen the back also strengthen the abdominal muscles as well. Either way, you have a healthier back as a result.
One simple back strengthening exercise involves lying prone (on your stomach) and lifting your leg straight up a few inches off the ground. Do one leg at a time.
Ideally, you should do sets of ten backward leg lifts at a time before switching legs. Do several sets each day to strengthen the back.
Back Exercise Machines
There are machines you can use at the health club that isolates the back muscles. They involve sitting in a chair of sorts that bends backward when you straighten out your back so you are in a lying position.
Different weights can be added to the machine so that you can gradually increase your muscle strength with heavier and heavier weights. Do ten repetitions at a time and several sets of repetitions as part of an overall muscle strengthening routine.
A healthy back is all about core strength training. It includes not only exercises of the back but exercises of the stomach as well.
Flexibility exercises help your back as well and include things like bending from side to side to loosen the back stiffness and bending forward to touch your toes, which keeps your back from getting too tight.