Back Exercises Standing
By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
Nothing puts us out of action faster than a backache. The unfortunate fact is that in many cases, this major health problem could be prevented. Besides keeping the spine in proper alignment, the abdominals strong, and using good body mechanics when lifting heavy objects, one way we can care for our back is to keep it flexible in all positions.
That means forward, back, side -to-side and twisting.
The long-standing controversy over whether the pelvic tilt is better for the back than exercises that encourage the natural arch in the back has resolved itself by both being right. We need both to maintain a healthy back.
1. Let’s begin with the pelvic tilt….
Tilt the tailbone under the pelvis. This naturally gives the lower back a mild stretch and takes the arch out of the back. This is a pelvic tilt. Now, tighten the abdominals. Don’t forget to align the spine by bringing the shoulders and ear in line with the hips.
2. To keep the back flexible in the opposite direction…
Place your hands on your waist with the thumbs facing forward and the fingers of each hand pointing toward each other, as they rest on the small of the back.
As you take a deep breath in – lift the ribcage – pull the shoulders gently back and open up the chest. You’ll feel the tiny arch in the back being accentuated.
3. Now, let’s look at how we can keep the back flexible side-to-side…
Once again, automatically align your spine by gently contracting the abdominal muscles. With the hand by your sides, slowly slide one arm down – just to the point of comfort and slight resistance. Don’t push it. Remember, we are just allowing the spine to flex laterally within its normal range. (Repeat exercise to the other side)
4. Let’s practice the proper way to twist….
Standing in good alignment with your feet hip width apart, turn to reach for something high up in the closet, be sure to lift your heel.
If you have a back problem, check with your physician or therapist.
They will provide you with just the right exercises for you.
By keeping your spine flexible in all positions, you’ll be taking some important steps to a healthy back.