A healthy back, strong and free of pain, is a priceless wonder. Every day from the time we get up until we crawl into bed at night to sleep, our back is essential to practically every move we make. It cannot be overemphasized the importance of maintaining back strength. Our back is an amazing part of the body encasing various muscles, bones, discs, joints, and ligaments all supporting our trunk and abdominal region known as our core. From bending, twisting, turning, or reaching for something on a high shelf, a strong back keeps us flexible and moving.
However, up to 90% of adults during their lifetime will have back pain interfering with daily activities lasting several days or indefinitely. Most will recover with few long-term issues. But, if our back continues to weaken or becomes more inflexible, our ability to remain mobile will be compromised. Certain lifestyles or situations are more prone to our back becoming weakened – sitting behind a computer all day, driving long distances, infrequent exercising, or injury to the back from playing sports, outdoor activities, or being in a car wreck.
That’s why preventing back pain by keeping it strengthened and flexible is key to protecting our spine and avoid developing a “bad back.” Strengthening back muscles using certain exercises targeting our core muscles is vital in preventing back issues. Here are several exercises to work on strengthening your back:
A strong back begins with a strong core. That’s why floor exercises are uniquely good for making your back stronger and more resilient. One of the most popular core exercises is the side plank. This move begins with lying on your right side with your right hand on the ground. If you’re a beginner, use your elbow. Lift yourself up to form a plank with your right arm straight and left arm at your side. Hold the position for at least 10 seconds, relax and then repeat. Be sure to keep your body in a straight line while tightening the abs and posterior.
A great low-impact workout working back muscles is walking in a pool. Not only is this move easily on your hips, knees, ankles, and feet but also is refreshing and reinvigorating. Walking through waterworks your core against the force of water.
This ancient Chinese martial art is an effective defense against back pain but also in gaining back strength. Tai chi combines slow, gentle movements with deep breathing and mental focus. This ‘moving meditation’ strengthens muscles in the abdomen and pelvic area that are crucial to supporting the lower back. This, in turn, improves balance and flexibility making you more aware of your posture when you sit, stand, and walk.
Yoga is a mind and body practice of various styles that combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. When it comes to the back, yoga helps increase strength in very specific muscles and muscles groups. Holding postures of yoga requires concentration of remaining in yoga positions that target certain muscles. Many of the postures of yoga gently strengthen the muscles in the back, as well as in the abdominal muscles. Back and abdominal muscles are essential components of the muscular network of the spine, helping the body maintain proper upright posture and movement. When these muscles are well conditioned, back pain can be greatly reduced or avoided.