Exercising the back
These exercises relieve, prevent and stretch out the back. They are very simple routines that you can do at home to prevent and fight against back pain.
FOR CORRECT POSTURE
∎ Exercise 1
1. With your feet parallel and your knees slightly bent, take a rod in both hands behind your back and hold it with your arms relaxed.
2. Inhale while you stretch your arms backward, feeling how your back curves. Keep your abdomen tight and use your arms for resistance. Release and relax as you exhale.
∎ Exercise 2
1. Lie with your back firmly against the floor, knees bent, feet parallel on the ground and your arms stretched out to your sides, forming a cross.
2. Close your fists, and raise your arms up keeping your fists parallel above your shoulders. Stay in this position for a few seconds and then return your arms to the initial position. Repeat six times.
Lie on your back on the ground or on a padded mat. Keep your knees bent; your feet on the ground, in line with your knees, and your arms extended to the sides of your torso. You should note that there is a gap between your spine and the ground. Straighten your torso and stretch it, bringing your whole back firmly to the ground. Feel as if you are pushing your navel downward; contract your pelvic muscles and try to squeeze your buttocks together. Stay in this position for 6 seconds, relax. Repeat 6 times.
EXERCISES WITH A BALL
Before going to bed, take a few minutes to stretch out your back. Place a pillow under your lower back and relax your body for a few seconds. You can also rest your back on an inflated ball of the type used in gyms, which offers a fun and pleasant exercise option.
1. Kneel with your hands and your knees on the ground. Your knees should be hip width apart and your hands should be shoulder width apart. Arch your back, bringing your waist and belly downward toward the ground. At the same time lift up your head and coccyx toward the ceiling. Do this movement slowly and stay in this final arched position for six seconds. If at any moment you experience pain, don't push yourself: stop and relax your body.
2. Lift up your back trying to curve it as much as you can, while you bring your head down. Stay in this position for six seconds and relax. Repeat six times.
STRENGTHENING YOUR NECK
The three following exercises are based on isometric principles, physical exercises in which muscles act against each other.
1. Wrap your hands around the back of your head, at the base of the neck. Press forward with your hands. At the same time, resist, pressing back with your head. You will feel the muscles in your neck stretch out. Stay in this position for six seconds. Relax and repeat the exercise six times.
2. Place the palm of your left hand over your left ear. Press your head against your hand and at the same time resist, using force with your hand. The pressure should be gentle and constant. Count up to six, relax and repeat six times. Next, repeat on your right side.
3. Intertwine your fingers and place your hands on your forehead. Apply pressure against your forehead with your hands, while you press your head forward into your hands. Count up to six, relax and repeat six times.
EXERCISES FOR SORE BACKS
1. Stand with your knees bent and your feet shoulders width apart, place your hands on your legs, right above your knees, and straighten your back. Arch your lower back and look forward.
2. Inhale and when you exhale bring your left shoulder forward. Keep your elbows firm and look over your right shoulder. Take note of the spiralling motion in the middle back. Inhale deeply, return to the initial position and then lift your right shoulder forward while you exhale. Repeat three or four times on each side.
ROTATING THE SPINE
1. Lie on your back, with your legs bent and your feet pressed to the floor. Make sure that your back is firmly against the floor; use your pelvic muscles to help your back press against the floor.
2. Slowly rotate your knees to the right and then to the left, as if you wanted to touch the floor with your knees. Keep your dorsal spine and shoulders pressed against the floor during the exercise. Repeat six times on each side.
STRETCHING YOUR ARMS AND TORSO
1. Place a pillow under your abdomen and keep your buttocks tight during this exercise.
2. Stretch both arms backward, parallel to your body. Lift your head, your shoulders and finally your chest. At the same time lift your legs as much as you can. Repeat six times.