Taking Care of your Lower Back.
Here are a few useful tips and exercises:
1. Manage your weight and stay within your ideal weight range.
Carrying extra body weight is hard on your back and your weight-bearing joints. Determine the ideal weight range for your height and body frame, and strive to remain in that range. You know what needs to be done to lose weight. You just have to do it!
I may talk about ‘weight loss’ in a separate post. It is simple; eat healthy and in moderation, and exercise regularly.
2. Make your abdominal muscles stronger.
If your belly is big or weak, you will most likely develop back problems sooner or later.
To make your abdominal muscles stronger you will need to do a few abdominal exercises daily for about 10 minutes, and 4-5 times a week. As you progress, you can do them twice daily. You can learn the exercises in Sri Sri Yoga classes, in any fitness class that gives importance to strengthening the abdominals, or even online. Start with simple exercises which you can do comfortably, and then gradually increase the challenge. You can do them as a part of your whole exercise routine or separately. Sometimes while watching TV, don’t sit on the sofa, instead get down on the floor and do your exercises . If you experience back pain while doing the abdominal exercises, reduce the intensity and the number of repetitions to a comfortable level and then increase them gradually.
3. Improve Your Posture.
Do you habitually stand or sit with a hunchback, or with your tummy pushed outward? Do you lean to one side while standing or sitting? Do you mostly sit with you back supported? These habits distort the alignment of the spine, over-stress certain parts of the body, and weaken others. Break these habits with more awareness and practice. Develop a habit of keeping your torso straight while sitting or standing. Balance your weight equally on both feet while standing, and put more weight on your heels than on the toes. While sitting, balance your weight equally on both sitting bones. Keeping your posture upright, balanced and relaxed will improve spinal alignment, will improve tone in your back muscles, and reduce pressure on your lower back.
4. Exercise Regularly.
Keep Active. Do aerobic exercise such as walking (my favorite), swimming, gentle jogging, dancing etc., followed by a session of yoga postures. Always do some warm-ups before doing yoga postures
5. Take professional medical advice if there has been an injury or if the pain persists.
6. Yoga Exercises for the Lower Back.
The exercises given below are for strengthening and stretching the lower back muscles. You may already be doing some of the exercises, but still read through them. I have added a few extra pointers.
You can do these suggested exercises as a part of your complete exercise routine or do them separately. Do them to your comfort level. Don’t overdo or push through the pain. If you feel pain, come out of the posture, relax, and go back into it with more awareness and caution.
With regular and proper practice for about two weeks, you will start noticing a difference. Your posture will improve, your lower back will feel stronger and overall you will feel healthier.
You will feel and walk taller.
Remember, you are responsible for your well being. Do it now!
Originally published on experienced yoga teacher Krishan Verma’s blog