TAKE A BREATH. IS YOUR BACK READY FOR THE WINTER SEASON?

As the weather starts to cool off and you look forward to the holidays, let’s not forget to keep your back healthy. There will be many activities between now and the end of the year that will tax even the most flexible among us. Help yourself with holiday stress prevention with spine exercises. You will want to take care of your spine so that you will remain healthy and not become sick during the holiday season this year. Back health can help.

Exercises for spine health are crucial to:

  • maintaining your balance
  • boosting your energy
  • giving you stamina while you move from activity to activity

Below are some spine exercises to relieve back pain and help you walk into the season with a bounce in your step.

Not only will exercise improve your overall fitness, research shows that it can also help prevent back injuries and reduce back pain.

In the world of fitness and exercise, how do you know which exercises are best for you? Keep the following in mind.

Spine Exercises – Strengthening:

Strengthening your muscles, especially the abdominal and back muscles, will help stabilize the spine and make it easier to maintain correct posture and perform daily activities. Strong muscles will help support and protect your joints and help prevent injury to the connective tissue found in the knees, neck, shoulders, elbows, ankles and, most importantly, the lower back.

There are many ways to do strengthening exercises. The following are just a few examples of strengthening exercises that can be done at home and do not require expensive equipment. Back pain prevention starts with strengthening your spine.

For low back strength and stability:

Pelvic Tilt –

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Tighten your abdominal muscles.

Tilt your pelvic bone up while pressing your lower back toward the floor.

Visualize “pulling” your navel through your abdomen towards the floor.

Hold for 3-5 seconds, then relax.

Do 10-20 repetitions.

Abdominal Curl –

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Tighten your abdominal muscles. In one slow but continuous movement, curl chin toward

your chest and roll upward until your shoulder blades are off the floor.

**Note that this is NOT a full sit-up.

No Range of Motion of the low back is desired.

Hold for 3-5 seconds, then slowly lower.

Do 10-20 repetitions.

When performing strengthening exercises, keep the following in mind:

  • Strengthening exercises should be done 3-4 days a week.
  • Perform these exercises slowly and smoothly; avoid sudden or jerking movements.
  • Do not hold your breath during exercise. Exhale on the exertion.
  • If you experience any pain, stop exercising immediately.

Spine Exercises – Stretching:

This type of exercise helps to improve and maintain flexibility, so you can move your arms, legs, neck, and back through their full range of motion. Stretching also helps prevent muscle strain and soreness and helps prepare your body for more strenuous activity. Stretching exercises, therefore, should be done before and after any type of vigorous workout.

A few examples of stretching exercises include the following:

Hamstring Stretch –

Lie flat on your back and gently press your hips to the ground.

Bend your left leg slightly.

Keeping your toes relaxed, raise your right leg straight up as far as it is comfortable.

Place your arm below your raised knee for added support if needed.

Hold for 10 seconds, do not bounce.

Switch legs and repeat.

Abdominal Stretch –

Lie flat on your stomach.

Lift your upper body, rest your weight on your elbows and raise your chin slightly.

Hold for 10 seconds, do not bounce.

Lower Back Stretch –

Lie flat on your back and gently press your hips to the ground.

Raise your right leg and gently pull your knee toward your chest.

Hold for 10 seconds, do not bounce.

Gently lower the leg all the way flat.

Switch legs and repeat.

When performing stretching exercises, keep the following in mind:

  • Stretching exercises should be done daily.
  • Stretch as far as you can – but not to the point of pain – then release.
  • Perform these exercises slowly and smoothly; avoid sudden or jerking movements.
  • Do not bounce when stretching, you can injure or strain your muscles that way.
  • If you experience any pain, stop exercising immediately.

Keep in mind, if you have not exercised in a long while, have any type of medical condition, or are not sure how to begin, talk to your primary care physician. Never start any new exercise regimen without seeing your doctor first.

Keeping Healthy:

Self-care during the holidays can be fun and relaxing. As you can see, spine exercises do not need to be difficult to be effective. It’s never too late to begin a fitness routine that can help improve your health and well-being.

Keeping your spine healthy through the holidays isn’t as hard as you think. At Shimer Chiropractic, we care about all aspects of your health and are happy to discuss fitness issues if you need help. Simply call our office to discuss them today.

healthy female celebrating pain free

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