Back and Better than Ever

Back and Better than EverTaking care of your back as you age is one of the smartest ways to feel and look young… and it’s easier than you might think. Exercises like these take just 20 minutes a day, 3 times a week, and can strengthen the muscles in your back, and those that support it.

1. Perfect Plank – Get in a push-up position, hands shoulder width apart, toes tucked under your heels, legs straight. Be sure that your shoulders hips and knees form a straight line; don’t tuck your hips under or push them up in the air. Hold this position for 5 deep breaths. Release and repeat 3-4 times.

2. Jack-Knife – Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Keep a slight natural bend in the knees; do not lock them. Reach high above your head, feeling your spine lengthen as you do. Then bend at the hips and reach forward as far as you can, keeping heels on the ground. Slowly lower yourself as far as you can go, then release your arms, shoulders and head. Hang in this position for 4-5 deep breaths. Then, while keeping your upper body relaxed, slowly return to a standing position. Repeat 2 times.

3. Reverse Sit Up – Lay with your back, shoulders and head flat on the floor (or mat). Place arms at your side with thumbs and wrists supporting your lower back. Lift heels 2 inches off the floor. Hold for 10 seconds. Then bring your knees up towards your chest and then straighten back out without touching heels back to floor. Repeat 10 to 15 times. Rest. Then do another set of 10 to 15 reps.

4. Stretching - One of the most underrated ways to improve back pain and strengthen your back core muscles is to stretch. Take a few minutes out of your day to perform a few simple stretches and you will see a world of difference. Start by lying flat on your back and pull the knees one at a time up to the chest for 30 seconds and repeat for 5 reps. You can also take your knees to the side across your body in a twist motion.

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