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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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                      Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                      Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                      Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                      1. Exercise Daily

                      It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                      If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                      Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                      If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                      2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                      Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                      One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                      This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                      3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                      Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                      Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                      Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                      4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                      Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                      The basic nutritional advice includes:

                      • Eat unprocessed foods
                      • Eat more veggies
                      • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                      • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                      Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                        5. Watch Out for Travel

                        Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                        This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                        If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                        6. Start Slow

                        Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                        If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                        7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                        Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                        My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                        If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                        I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                        Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                        More Tips on Getting in Shape

                        Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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