Back pain is not just an older person’s problem. Sedentary lifestyles and work environments have forced people of all ages to look for solutions to back pain. However, instead of using medications and massages to respond to back pain, your best bet for living a pain-free life is to avoid back pain altogether.
The most effective way to do that is through core strength. By developing a strong, healthy core, your body will always have the support it needs to function properly, thus preventing back pain in the future. When performed regularly, a few simple exercises can dramatically reduce your likelihood of dealing with back pain. These exercises are:
- Plank positions
- Leg lifts
These exercises are performed by holding a position for a set amount of time. You’ll feel like the exercise is simple at the beginning–but the difficulty will become readily apparent as you spend time holding the position.
To begin, take a position like you would when performing a push-up. However, instead of resting on the palms of your hands, bend your arms at the elbow and rest your weight on your forearms. Now, just hold that position for as long as you can while remembering to breathe naturally. Shoot for 30 seconds at the beginning, working up to a total of 2 minutes as you improve.
One of the biggest issues when developing your core is imbalances in the relative strength of the different muscle groups. Usually, the lower abdominal muscles aren’t as well-trained as the other regions. Leg lifts will help you avoid that outcome.
Start by lying flat on your back. Make sure that you’re on a firm surface–a mattress is not a good choice, but a yoga mat on your floor is just fine. Then, with your head flat, lift your legs off of the ground without bending your knees. Continue lifting them until your heels face the ceiling. Finally, slowly return your legs to their starting position. Complete the movement 15 times.
To add a bit of difficulty to the movement, press your feet up toward the ceiling at the end of the movement. When you do this correctly, your buttocks should lift off the floor slightly. This will add a bit of a challenge to your core muscles when you’ve trained enough to need more resistance.
This movement requires coordinated strength from all of your abdominal muscles. You’ll feel awkward and clumsy with this movement at first. After a couple of days, you’ll find that your body learns to perform the movement and the exercise becomes much less intense.
Your first task is to get into a sit-up position with your knees bent and your back on the floor. Then, imagine you are riding a bicycle in this position and move your legs in a pedaling motion. Repeat this movement for 15 seconds, then reverse the movement for an additional 15 seconds.
That’s it! By performing these movements every day, your core will act as your first defence against back pain. You’ll be amazed at how just a few minutes of exercise each morning can have such a profound impact on your quality of life.
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