Up to 90% of people in the US experience back pain at some point in their lives. Your spine provides support for your whole body, protects your nerves and allows you to move in many different ways, so little conscious preventive efforts can go a long way to keep your spine healthy and maintain your overall well-being.
Here are 5 easy exercises to keep your spine healthy:
1. Scapular Push-Ups
1. Do a high plank with your hands shoulder-distance apart. Keep your body aligned with your head in neutral position.
2. Imagine there’s something in between your shoulder blades and pinch them together as you slowly lower your body halfway down towards the floor.
3. Raise your body back to starting position.
Repeat 8-10 times.
If the high plank is too difficult, you can try the modified standing position by placing your hands against a wall in front of you and walking your feet backward (the further from the wall, the harder it will be.)
2. Bent-Over Reverse Flys
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, bend your knees slightly, and hinge forward at the hips. Keep your arms by your sides, palms in, and gaze forward.
2. Engage your shoulder and back muscles, keep your chest up, and raise your arms to form the letter “T” (parallel to the floor), with elbows slightly bent. Make sure to squeeze your shoulder blades as you do the movement to engage your back muscles.
3. Bring arms back down to starting position.
Repeat 15 times.
1. Lie face down, reach your arms out in front with palms on the floor.
2. Engage your back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings and lift your right arm and left leg off the ground at the same time. Lower them and do the same for your left arm and right leg.
3. This whole movement counts as one rep.
Repeat 12-15 times while alternating each side.
Make sure to keep your neck and spine long with shoulders kept down the whole time.
4. Renegade Rows
1. Do a high plank with your hands apart at a shoulder’s distance, and shoulders stacked directly above the wrists.
2. While keeping core muscles engaged, lift your right hand and tuck your right elbow close to your rib cage.
3. Bring right arm back to starting position and repeat with the left arm.
Repeat 10-12 times on each side.
Make sure to keep your core stable and avoid moving your shoulders or body to the side as you perform the row.
1. Lie face down with your toes pointed down and forehead on the floor.
2. Lift your arms straight out in front with your palms on the floor.
3. Engage your back muscles, glutes, and hamstrings and lift your hands and feet a few inches off the ground.
Repeat 10 times, holding each motion for 3 seconds.
Make sure to pull your shoulders down and back as you lift your arms and legs off the floor. Pay attention to your breathing too – inhale as you lift, and exhale as you return to starting position.
These exercises were adapted from this article by NBC News.