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10 Exercises To Do And Avoid To Relieve Lower Back Pain

10 Exercises To Do And Avoid To Relieve Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain plagues millions of people now that sitting in a chair for eight hours a day is commonplace. Not to mention the time spent sitting in cars, sitting in front of a TV, and sitting down to eat!

Looking for relief? Don’t worry – I’ve found five exercises to help you get rid of lower back pain… and five exercises you should avoid.

5 Exercises to Relieve Lower Back Pain

These exercises strengthen your back without causing unnecessary damage.

1. Partial Crunches

    Partial crunches are great to strengthen your back and stomach muscles without too much added tension. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Cross your arms over your chest or put your hands behind your head, then lift your body up so your shoulders are off the ground. Be sure to tighten your stomach muscles! Hold this position for 3-4 seconds, then lower. Don’t forget to breathe.

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    2. Hamstring Stretches

      Don’t you love  hamstring stretches? They also relieve lower back pain. Just lie on the floor and raise one leg. Wrap a towel or shirt around the ball of your foot, and pull to straighten it out. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Do this 3-4 times each side.

      3. Wall Sits

        Wall sits work wonders because they don’t put stress in bad places. First, stand 10 to 12 inches from the wall, then slowly lean back and slide down the wall until you’re in a sitting position. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly get back up and repeat this process 8 to 12 times.

        4. Press-up Back Extensions

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          To do a press-up back extension, lie on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders. Push with your hands so your shoulders begin to lift off the floor. If it’s comfortable, put your elbows on the floor directly under your shoulders and hold this position for several seconds.

          5. Bird Dog

            I know, I had no idea what this was either until I did some research. To do this one, start on your hands and knees, and tighten your stomach muscles. Lift and extend one leg behind you while keeping your hips level. Hold for 5 seconds then switch to the other leg. Repeat 8 to 12 times for each leg, and try to lengthen the time you hold each lift. Try lifting and extending your opposite arm for each repetition. The key is to not let your lower back sag while in this position!

            5 Exercises to Avoid (These Make Back Problems Worse)

            These common exercises can actually make lower back problems worse!

            1. Toe Touches

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              Toe touches can put stress on the disks and ligaments in your spine. They can also overstretch lower back muscles and hamstrings.

              2. Sit-ups

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                You would think sit-ups are great, right? As it turns out, most people tend to use muscles in the hips, which adds too much stress. Sit-ups may also put a lot of pressure on the discs in your spine, which isn’t good, either.

                3. Leg Lifts

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                  Leg lifts are very demanding on your core. If you don’t have a strong core already, this exercise can make your back pain worse. Instead, try lying on your back with one leg straight and the other leg bent with your foot flat on the floor. Keep your lower back flat on the floor! Slowly lift the straight leg up about 6 inches and hold for a few seconds. Lower it back down slowly. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.

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                  4. Squat

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                    Squats are really bad for your back – when done incorrectly. I say you should avoid them because they require a certain level of form mastery which makes them much more dangerous in comparison to the other 5 exercises above.

                    5. Jogging

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                      Jogging is bad for your lower back and horrible for your knees. So many people swear by it, but it can really do more damage than good. I would just avoid it.

                      Thanks for reading. I wish you luck and hope these exercises and tips help relieve lower back pain!

                      Featured photo credit: Andrea Ferretti via rodalesorganiclife.com

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                      Bill Widmer

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                      Last Updated on September 16, 2019

                      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                      You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                      We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                      The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                      Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                      1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                      Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                      For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                      • (1) Research
                      • (2) Deciding the topic
                      • (3) Creating the outline
                      • (4) Drafting the content
                      • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                      • (6) Revision
                      • (7) etc.

                      Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                      2. Change Your Environment

                      Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                      One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                      3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                      Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                      Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                      My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                      Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                      4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                      If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                      Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                      I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                      5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                      I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                      Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                      As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                      6. Get a Buddy

                      Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                      I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                      7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                      This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                      For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                      8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                      What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                      9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                      If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                      Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                      10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                      Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                      Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                      11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                      At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                      Reality check:

                      I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                      More About Procrastination

                      Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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