1. Spine strengthening and stretching
This workout will help your back and its muscles. You should feel a smooth, light stretch in your lower back.
Option 1: Lay down on the floor with your arms out to your side. Bend at the knees and lay your legs down gently to one side with your head in the opposite direction. Your shoulders should stay flat on the floor, not lifting up. Stay in this position for a few minutes, then repeat on the other side. Repeat three more times.
Option 2: Lay down on the floor. Leave your right leg stretched and bend your left knee. Tilt your bent knee in toward your body and turn your head away from your body. Your shoulders should stay flat on the floor. Do this 20 times.
Option 3: Still laying on the floor, put your hands behind your head. Lift your legs up slightly, then bend your left knee into your body while turning your head and shoulders to your left. Come back to the center, then bend your right knee into your body while turning your head and shoulders to the right. This will look sort of like a crunch. Do this ten times without stopping.
2. Thoracic Spine Strengthening
This set of workouts focuses on your core, so it will work your abs and middle back muscles. You’ll feel a stretch in your lower back with this one as well.
Option 1: Get on all fours comfortably. Like the cat and cow poses in yoga, you’re going to arch your back and tuck your head to your chest. Hold it for 15 to 30 seconds.
Then, slowly bend your back toward the floor, lifting your head up to look at the ceiling. Hold this pose as well. Do this two times.
Option 2: On all fours again, arch your back and bring your left knee into your chest while you bring your right elbow into your chest. Then, stretch both your left leg and right arm straight out, keeping your body parallel to the floor. Do this ten times on each side at a slow pace.
3. Lumbar spine strengthening
The best defense is a good offense, so to protect your back muscles, you’ll want strong abs. If you have weak abs, your spine will shift forward to try and compensate to keep you upright.
Option 1: Lay down and bend your knees. Take a deep breath, and on the exhale, lift your rib cage up with your hands behind your head. Do ten of these at a slow pace.
Option 2: Laying down, lift your legs in the air, so they’re up off the ground. Leaving your arms laying down by your sides, bring your right knee into your right elbow and straighten your left leg. Then, switch and bring your left knee into your left elbow and straighten your right leg. This should resemble cycling; do it ten times for each leg at a slow pace.
Maintaining a healthy spine is important for your overall general health. You’d probably be surprised at how much the condition of our back can affect the rest of our body. Here are some other stretches, workouts, and exercises you can do to keep your back and spine in shape.
The Spinal Twist
Sometimes, twisting your back to help it reconfigure itself can feel so good after a day of sitting and standing. While sitting up, keep your left leg straight and bend your right knee so your foot is flat on the ground. Twist your core so you can put your left elbow on the outside of your right knee and your right hand back on the floor behind you for support. Hold it for as long as you need to, then switch and do the other side.
One of the poster postures in yoga, this pose will work every part of your body. Start by placing your feet on the ground with your hands down in front of you. Raise your hips so your legs are straight and your body falls into a V pose. Relax your head and your neck; gravity will pull your head down to help stretch your spine.
Stretching is very beneficial for your body. We could all use a little more of it, and it’s amazing how good we end up feeling after we do it! Even if you close the door to your office and bust out a few stretches on your yoga mat during your break, it’s better than doing nothing.