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Hints and Tips to Keep Your Back Healthy

I'm guessing that if you are reading this blog post you have probably suffered at some point from back pain, and keeping it at bay or the fear of it coming back is a priority. In this post I have some simple suggestions on looking after your posture which in turn helps to improve our back health. During February we looked in depth at our posture and back health in our Pilates and Yoga classes and here are 3 of the key points we practised.

(I found this image online and it made me laugh! Which one are you? )

Firstly we have our upper back and in particular our shoulders. We spend more and more time in a slumped position with the shoulders so the muscles on our upper backs get over stretched and the muscles on the front of the chest get short. So to counteract, we need to strengthen the muscles (our rhomboids) between the shoulder blades, to help them sit back better and stretch the front of the chest. Easily done in one simple exercise. Wherever you are now open the arms out wide into a T shape. Breathe out and try to pull your shoulder blades together using your rhomboid muscles, then take that movement even further by trying to get the backs of the shoulders and arms to touch behind you, this will open out the front of the chest. Then come back to a neutral position. Try and repeat 10 times.

Next we are going to stretch our hamstrings on the back of the thighs. When they tighten they can pull on the bottom of the pelvis which in turn pulls us out of optimal posture. There are several ways to stretch the hamstrings but if you are standing, step one leg a little forward, bend the other knee and then breathe out and lean forward from the hips as if you could touch your toes, again repeat 10 times before swapping to the other leg.

Finally we come to our hip flexors; they sit right at the top of the thighs and attach to our spine and have a habit of shortening as well, making the pelvis tilt forward. To help release them sit on a chair to one side with only half your bottom on the seat, right knee hanging under the hip. Breathe out, squeeze your tummy in so that your lower back and pelvis curl under you and then release. Repeat 10 times.

These exercises won't guarantee back pain will stay away forever but at least you can give yourself a fighting chance at looking after your back as best as you can.

For more in depth explanations on doing all the stretches head to the YouTube video Posture Hacks on a Chair

For more body care join our studio or online classes - book now

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