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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

                    jogging

                      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 November 19, 2019

                      20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                      20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                      Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                      If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                      1. Create a Daily Plan

                      Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                      2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                      Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                      3. Use a Calendar

                      Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                      I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                      Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                      4. Use an Organizer

                      An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                      These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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                      5. Know Your Deadlines

                      When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                      But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                      6. Learn to Say “No”

                      Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                      Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                      7. Target to Be Early

                      When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                      For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                      Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                      8. Time Box Your Activities

                      This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                      You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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                      9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                      Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                      10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                      Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                      You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                      11. Focus

                      Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                      Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                      Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                      12. Block out Distractions

                      What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                      I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                      When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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                      Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                      13. Track Your Time Spent

                      When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                      You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                      14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                      You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                      Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                      15. Prioritize

                      Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                      Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                      16. Delegate

                      If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                      When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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                      17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                      For related work, batch them together.

                      For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                      1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                      2. coaching
                      3. workshop development
                      4. business development
                      5. administrative

                      I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                      18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                      What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                      One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                      While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                      19. Cut off When You Need To

                      The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                      Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                      20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                      Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                      More Time Management Techniques

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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