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15 Simple but Powerful Back Exercises to Ease Stiffness and Lower Back Pain

15 Simple but Powerful Back Exercises to Ease Stiffness and Lower Back Pain

Almost every single person on this planet has experienced some sort of back pain, whether it be in their lower, middle, or upper back. I can tell you those who have had it bad will bear witness to the horrific pain that can come with any kind of back pain. Some might become so desperate that they’ll resort to options such as surgery. Ouch!

But what if I can help you without doing something so drastic? What if you found that back exercises or stretching might be the one thing that actually helped?

Read over this list of fifteen exercises that will help ease your back pain.

1. Inversion Table

inversiontable2

    Inversion tables are an excellent piece of equipment that will help stretch your back to a different kind of level. They use the pull of gravity to assist in stretching your spine. If you are experiencing any kind of back pain, an investment in one of these might be your answer.

    2. Cobra Stretch

    cobrastretch

      Cobra stretches can be performed anywhere you feel comfortable and that has plenty of floor space. Cobra stretches have relieved many people’s back pains and continue to help those who are looking for relief. Always make sure you keep your feet together and go as high as possible with your shoulders.

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      3. Lower Back Twist

      lowerbacktwist

        Lower back twists are an easy stretch to perform. These twists help with stretching your Gluteus Maximus muscles as well as your lower back. When performing this stretch, make sure to not lift both shoulders off the floor while you are bringing one of your legs across your body onto the other side.

        4. Lying Lower Back Stretch

        lyinglowerbackstretch

          The lying lower back stretch is a great stretch for this area of your back. Use your hands to pull your knees in and up to your chest. Don’t worry if your lower back comes off the floor. Hold your position at the top for a good 15 to 30 seconds, then release.

          5. Fitness Ball Wrap

          fitnessballwrap2

            Using a large fitness ball, you will be performing the fitness ball wrap. This stretches your back the other way and you will soon discover how effective it is and how much relief it gives you! Stay as long as you feel like while your body wraps around the top of the fitness ball.

            6. Lying Static Leg Raise

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            lyinglegraise

              The lying static leg raise helps with the lower back by placing more pressure on the back from a vertical standpoint. You will find this to be very comfortable and relieving. If you’ve had a tough day at work and your back is aching a bit, have yourself do the lying static leg raise for 15 to 20 minutes.

              7. Hyperextension Machine Stretch

              hyperextmachinestretch

                This stretch is very similar to the large fitness ball wrap. Instead, however, you will be using a hyperextension machine that can be found at your local gym. Get on one and slowly lower yourself until you feel a full stretch in your lower back. Stay locked in this position for 15 to 30 seconds.

                8. Glute Stretch

                glutestretch

                  When you pull your foot underneath the knee of your other leg, you can then start pulling both legs towards your chest. This will help give you a greater stretch in your glutes area and your lower back. Hold this position for fifteen to thirty seconds, then release.

                  9. Deadlifts

                  Deadlift

                    Deadlifts are an excellent exercise to use for strengthening your lower back and many more other muscles. However, if you’re already experiencing lower back pain, I advise you to go light with these exercises so as to not aggravate your lower back. Keep your back straight at all times throughout the whole movement.

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                    10. Ab and Rope Crunches

                    cablecrunch

                      Sometimes, lower back pain may be caused by muscle imbalances in the core area. This type of lower back pain may be relieved by strengthening weak abdominals, which serves to counteract the strong muscles in the back. Crunches and rope crunches are some of the best exercises to strengthen the core and help start supporting your lower back.

                      11. Hyperextension on the Fitness Ball

                      1010-back-extension

                        If you don’t have a gym membership and you’d prefer doing this stretch at home, grab a large fitness ball and lay on your stomach. Start by placing both hands behind your head and lowering your shoulders. Stop once you feel a full stretch and then engage your lower back, bringing yourself back up again. You can use this stretch as a back exercise as well by doing more repetitions.

                        12. Hyperextension Exercise

                        hyperextensions

                          An excellent lower back exercise, this exercise alone can help you create a stronger lower back. If you have a weak back, I advise you start performing this exercise right away. Just like the hyperextension on the large fitness ball, you will be going down until you feel a full stretch. You may increase the intensity by holding a dumbbell in your hands.

                          13. Pelvic Thrust

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                          Pelvic-Thrust-2

                            Start by having your entire back flat on the floor. Bend your legs and have your feet come in next to your hamstrings. Push up with your legs and thrust your pelvis out. To increase the intensity of this exercise, place and hold some weight on top of your thighs.

                            14. Less Sitting and More Breaks

                            lesssitting

                              Sometimes prevention is the key and this can certainly apply to lower back pain. Many people’s lower back pain can be traced all the way to the amount of sitting they do each day. According to U.S. News, 86 percent of Americans sit for 13 hours a day. That’s a lot of sitting, and if by chance you are going to sit for that long, I urge you to take as many breaks as possible from it.

                              15. Helpful Back Belts

                              back_pain_belt

                                I can’t lie, belts have been a strong factor in relieving my lower back pain. If you’re into fitness, sit down a lot, or have a physical job, I advise you to look into a belt that may help relieve the tension on your lower back. Support it and it will support you back.

                                Your Three-Step Plan to a Better Lower Back

                                1. Before beginning any exercise regimen or trying out a new string of stretches, please book an appointment with your chiropractor or doctor first. It is very important that you be looked at by a professional and have them explain to you the proper procedure in doing each back exercise or stretch. You don’t want to injure yourself even further because that may only cause more pain in your lower back.

                                2. Pick two or three points in this article and stick to them only. The last thing you want to do is try to perform each exercise or stretch and do each one of them poorly. Remember, each exercise or stretch takes time to master, as well as a lot of practice. After becoming good at a set of three things, gradually add more if needed.

                                3. It’s not about more. It’s about how much is needed. Just because you have lower back pain doesn’t mean you have to do a huge amount of stretches and exercises for it. That can do more damage than good and it can become counterproductive. Many times your back is already stressed and causing more stress to it by performing stretches and exercises can never be good. Give yourself a break, stop doing what you know that’s causing your lower back to ache, and prevent bad habits causing it to ache in the first place.

                                Featured photo credit: John Carleton via flickr.com

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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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