Whether you work a physically strenuous job that involves heavy lifting or you find yourself stuck at a desk for hours on end, your spine is strained from your everyday life. There are several short exercises you can do to alleviate and eliminate spine pain and ensure your spine is properly aligned.
Why is Spine Health Important?
Understanding how to move, sit and stand correctly can help you maintain an active lifestyle and avert broken or disfigured bones and disabilities. Good posture can also limit the kyphosis, or forward curve of the upper back, that can result from problems of the spine. (1)
Alignment is one of the most important components of body mechanics and refers to the relationship between the position of the head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees and ankles. Proper alignment of these areas of the body puts less stress on your back. Good posture also has a myriad of mental and physical benefits.
Tips to Avoid Spine Problems:
To prevent spine problems, back and shoulder pain, joint stress and tightness in the chest, avoid sitting or standing in these positions.
- Twisting and straining the spine
- A drooping posture; if your spine mimics the shape of a hook or question mark
- Twisting and bending forward when coughing or carrying heavy loads
- Bending forward from the waist
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- Lie down flat on the floor on your back and bend your left knee.
- Cross your left thigh with the lower half of your right leg.
- Make sure your knee is pointing out to the side at a 90-degree angle.
- Pull your left leg towards your head.
- Hold this position for about 30 seconds.
- Switch your legs and repeat the exercise.
- Lean on the floor on your right knee, and stretch out your left leg behind you.
- Ensure that your right leg remains bent.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Switch your legs and repeat the exercise 5 times
- Stand at arms’ length from a table.
- Bend your upper part of the body forward and bend your legs at your knees slightly.
- Keep bending until you can touch the edge of the table with both hands.
- Stretch out your arms and head to shoulder level.
- Hold the position for about 10 seconds.
- Stand straight up and bend your body to the left and then to the right
- Repeat the exercise 4 times
- Lie flat on the floor, facing up.
- Bend your right leg at the knee and stretch out your left leg, bringing so it above your head
- Clasp both hands underneath the left knee.
- Pull your left leg towards your abdomen and hold for 30 seconds.
- Switch legs and repeat the exercise.
- Complete this exercise five times on each side.
- Lie flat on the floor, facing up, with both knees bent.
- Clasp your left leg with both hands by the knee and pull it towards your abdomen.
- Hold this position for 20 seconds.
- Switch legs and repeat the exercise 6 times
- Lie down on your right side, bending your left leg at your knee.
- Use your left hand to grasp your left ankle, and gently pull up your ankle.
- You will be able to feel the muscles working in your left thigh in the process, ensuring your spine is straight.
- Hold the position for about 30 seconds.
- Switch sides and repeat the exercise 5 times
- Lie down flat on the floor with your stomach facing up.
- Stretch out your right arm by 90 degrees while stretching your left leg out.
- Pull your right knee to your left side, so it nearly touches your left hand.
- Hold this position for about 20 seconds.
- Switch your arms and knees and repeat the exercise.
- Repeat this six times
These exercises should be repeated as needed. Stop the exercise if you feel sharp pain or dizziness, and if you have a bone or muscle condition, always consult a doctor before attempting any strenuous activity.
Maintaining a properly aligned spine is vital for long-term health and wellness. It can prevent disability, affect your confidence and mood, and allow you to be more productive in your daily life. Spine disfiguration can result from ordinary activities you perform, so it is important to make sure you’ve got your own back –so to speak.
- Proper Body Alignment – National Osteoporosis Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved November 07, 2016.Leilnahari, K., Fatouraee, N., Khodalotfi, M., Sadeghein, M. A., & Kashani, Y. A. (2011).
- Spine alignment in men during lateral sleep position: Experimental study and modeling. BioMedical Engineering OnLine BioMed Eng OnLine, 10(1), 103. doi:10.1186/1475-925x-10-103
- (2016). Seven Amazing Five-Minute Exercises for a Healthy Spine. Retrieved November 07, 2016.
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