When your back is slowly stiffening, you may not realize it or you might be too busy to stop and do anything about it. This can happen anytime whether you are working, playing or exercising. When the lower back is stiff, it does not move properly and extra pressure is put on the spine. However, both medical and fitness experts agree that people who incorporate regular stretching into their everyday routine have much less back stiffness. Making time during your day to stretch can not only relieve stiffness in your back but strengthen your back to prevent further back problems.
Here are some of the best stretches to relieve stiffness in your back.
• Cobra Stretch – Begin this stretch by lying on your stomach. Gently press away from the floor as if your head’s being pulled toward the ceiling. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds and then lay back down. It is important to move in a slow and controlled manner. Only move as far as you feel comfortable.
• Torso Stretch – Even with the best posture, people may find themselves sinking back into a hunched position, which can cause your back to ache. This simple move will stretch all the muscles in your back, sides and arms. You can do this stretch seated or standing position. Lace your fingers together and stretch them towards the ceiling. Take a deep breath as you stretch up as high as you can, then exhale and open the arms, sweeping them back down. Do 8-10 reps.
• Child’s Pose or Prayer Stretch – This simple stretch can provide a quiet moment of relaxation as well. Start this position sitting back on your heels with your arms relaxed at your side. Raise your arms over head then bend forward at the waist, resting your forehead on the floor. You may stay in this position as long as you like.
• Knees to the Side – One of the best things about this stretch is that you can do it virtually anywhere you have some floor space. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent. Keeping your feet on the floor, slowly lower your knees to the side. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds, bring them back to neutral and then slowly lower them to the other side. You may use your arms to stabilize your body, if you wish. You should be able to feel a stretch through the lower back.
• Single Leg to the Side – Begin this stretch by lying face up with your arms outstretched to the side. Lift one leg as high as you are able then slowly lower it to the side. Only move as far as you can go comfortably. It is okay to move your leg until it touches your hand if you’re that flexible. Repeat on the other side.
• Hanging Stretches/Chin Ups Stretch – Do a chin up as you normally would but at the end hold at the bottom position for 15-20 seconds. This will stretch your upper back and whole upper body.