When your body bends forward, such as when you bend down to touch your toes, your back muscles stretch to perform the action. Performing regular back stretching exercises, like the ones explained here, helps increase flexibility and strength in those muscles. This helps reduce lower back injury and pain and makes bending easier. Stretching the abdominal, or core, muscles will also improve bending movement. The Mayo Clinic recommends performing stretching exercises at least two to three times a week in order to achieve the best results. As with any new exercise program, consult your physician before you begin.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and flat on the floor. Place your arms on your side with palms down.
With both knees together, bring them down to the right side as close to the floor as you can without pain. Keep your back flat and rotate at the waist. Hold for a few seconds and then move the knees to your left side to touch the floor.
Repeat this movement for 10 to 20 repetitions.
Knees to Chest
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms at your side with your palms down.
Using your hands, pull both knees up toward your chest. Bring them as far as you can without pain. You should feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold this stretch for five to 10 seconds.
Return your legs to the starting position. Repeat this move for 10 to 20 repetitions.
Upward Facing Dog
Lie on your stomach with your hands placed under your shoulders. Point your fingers forward. Have your legs straight with your toes pointed away from you. Keep your head in line with your spine throughout the exercise.
As you exhale, straighten your elbows and lift your upper body off the floor. Continue until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Your hips and thighs may lift but do not allow your knees to come off the floor. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds.
As you inhale, slowly lower your body back to the floor. Repeat this stretch for three to five repetitions.
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