A healthy back is an integral part of overall health. Having a strong and flexible spine will support all other areas of the mind and body. When you have back pain, bad posture or some injury, you run the risk of permanent damage. Key to avoiding this is to learn correct movements that help nurture the back and then incorporate them into daily living and exercise.
Here are a few exercises and tips that will help to that end.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stay active
- Use proper stretching and good posture
- Avoid sitting for long periods
- Get proper rest on a proper mattress
For each of these exercises, try 3 sets of 15 reps
- Underhand grip pulldowns—the movement is focused on the lats and upper back muscles
- Kayak pushdown—as you push down and squeeze, alternate side to side as if in a kayak with an oar
- Single arm cable row—allow for some rotation as the cable stretches away from you; use a resistance band as an alternative
- Plate rows—use a dumbbell or kettlebell if you don’t have a plate; perform a traditional bent over row but notice the difference when you hold the plate at different positions.
- Wide rows—keep your elbows out as you row and feel the back of the shoulders being worked
- Seated twist—sit cross legged so one ankle rests on the other knee, lengthen your back and slowly twist; repeat on other side
Finally, meditate on the health of your spine. All of the above are great opportunities to strengthen your back but you can also sit quietly, close your eyes and take deep breaths. Stay in this position for at least 3 minutes.
The bottom line is your back is key to your health—take care of it and it will take care of you.
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