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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 January 15, 2019

                                8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

                                In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

                                Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

                                Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

                                Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

                                Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

                                The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

                                There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

                                How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

                                According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

                                Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

                                Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

                                The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

                                Listen carefully:

                                We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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                                The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

                                Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

                                8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

                                There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

                                Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

                                1. Pray Daily

                                You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

                                When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

                                Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

                                Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

                                2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

                                A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

                                By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

                                Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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                                If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

                                This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

                                How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

                                3. Smile Often

                                Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

                                Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

                                Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

                                The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

                                4. Organize Your Working Desk

                                A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

                                When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

                                Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

                                Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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                                5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

                                I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

                                Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

                                What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

                                6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

                                God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

                                I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

                                I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

                                7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

                                You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

                                How do you do that? This is my formula:

                                First, go to my website (find my website here in my profile) and take the smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

                                If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

                                If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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                                If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

                                Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

                                8. Go Exercise

                                Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

                                The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

                                You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

                                12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

                                The Bottom Line

                                It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

                                It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

                                Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

                                More Resources About Mindfulness

                                Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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