Spring is right around the corner. That means many things are happening. One of those things is SPRING CLEANING!
While I love to have the warmer temperatures, my windows open and fresh air in my house, I also notice all the corners that need cleaned! Plus with us staying home so much, no one coming in our house… we are over due for some serious spring cleaning.
Spring cleaning often brings on low back pain. All that bending over, lifting, maintaining awkward positions for long periods of time…
Here are so long back stretches and strengthening exercises to help you get through spring cleaning this year without ending up on the couch for days.
How to do child’s pose: Begin in tabletop position on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Extend your arms out in front of you, placing your palms flat on the floor. Slowly sit your hips back toward your heels, dropping your head and chest downward as your arms extend further and reach for the wall in front of you. If this stretch is too much, place a pillow under your belly to prop yourself up a bit and lessen the stretch of the low-back muscles. Hold this pose for 20 to 30 seconds or even longer.
How to a cat/cow stretch: Begin in tabletop position on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Your spine should be parallel to the ground in this position. Then, round your back, stretching your mid-back between your shoulder blades—similar to how a cat stretches by rounding its back. Hold for five seconds, then relax and let your stomach fall downward as you gently arch your low back and hold here for another five seconds. Repeat these movements for 30 seconds or longer.
How to do a supine twist: Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms out to the side in a “T” position. Keep your shoulders on the ground as you gently roll both knees to one side. Stay here 20 to 30 seconds, then return your knees to the center and repeat on the other side. If the stretch is too much for you, place a pillow or stack of blankets under your knees when you twist to each side.
How to do knee-to-chest stretch: Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring your hands to rest either behind your knees or right below your kneecaps. Slowly bring both knees toward your chest, using your hands to gently pull your knees. Hold here 20 to 30 seconds, and try rocking your hips side to side and up and down to help massage your low back, then return to starting position.
How to do a pelvic tilt: Begin by lying on a yoga mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Try to relax your low back, keeping it in a neutral position (which means you should feel a slight curve in your low back if you place the top of your hand under your back). Activate your core muscles and then flatten your low back against the floor by slightly tilting your pelvis upward. Repeat 12 to 15 times.
How to do a supine figure 4 stretch: Lie on your back on a yoga mat with both knees bent and feet planted on the floor. Lift your right leg, flex your right foot and cross your right ankle over your left thigh. If this is enough stay here, or draw your left knee in and hold behind your left thigh to increase the intensity. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths and then switch to the other side.
How to do bridge pose: Lying on your back, bend your knees and plant both feet on the yoga mat. Be sure your feet are hip-width apart with your heels close to your glutes. Press into your feet to lift your hips. From here try to soften around your sacrum, and lengthen your sit bones toward your knees. Hold for 30 seconds.
How to do a forearm plank: From the top of a push up, drop your forearms onto the mat directly underneath your shoulders. You can interlace your hands or bring the forearms parallel to one another, depending on how your shoulders feel. Kick through the heels and engage your core. Hold for at least 30 seconds, working your way up to one minute.
Remember, schedule breaks. Sometimes it’s not the activity that is the problem it is how long we are doing it.
Drink plenty of water. Our body is mostly made up of water. Water helps lubricate the joints and a hydrated body is less likely to get injured.
Stretch before, stretch after and stretch when you are sore.