Exercise for Lower Back for Someone Who Has Been Sedentary

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    Warm Up

    • Lower back injuries can be debilitating, making it painful to walk, sit and stand. To avoid injury, always warm up before doing any kind of stretching or exercise. Walking briskly, riding an exercise bike or using an elliptical trainer for 5 to 10 minutes is sufficient to get blood flow to the muscles for these light exercises.


    • Knee to Chest: Lie down on the floor. Using both hands, pull your knee to your chest by grasping your leg behind your thigh. The opposite leg should stay flat on the ground. Hold each leg in this position for 30 seconds.

      Pelvic Tilt: Again, lie on the floor. With this stretch, both knees should be bent with your feet flat on the floor. Tilt your pelvis up so that your lower back presses into the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and release. Do not hold your breath. Repeat this 10 times.

      Piriformis Stretch: Sit in a chair with your right ankle crossed over your left leg, just above the knee. Keep your legs in position and lean forward, holding for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat the stretch.

      The Cat: While on hands and knees on the floor, slowly alternate between the following two positions, pausing at each: To do the first position, arch your back toward the floor, while looking up toward the ceiling. To do the second position, lift your back, rounding it toward the ceiling while tucking in your chin and tail bone. Inhale while moving into the first position and exhale while moving into the second position. Repeat these steps five times.


    • The Bridge: Lie down, flat on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your buttocks off of the floor, keeping your abdominal muscles tight. Lift until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold this position for 5 seconds--then slowly lower back to the floor. Do this five times.

      The Plank: Assume a push-up position, but with your elbows and forearms on the floor instead of your hands. Your body should be completely straight from your shoulders to your feet. Hold this position for 10 seconds while tightening your abdominal muscles, then relax. Repeat this exercise five to 10 times. As you get stronger, you can slowly increase number of repetitions and length of time you hold tight.

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