Let’s nail it down. I hear from a number of my clients that they have lower back pain, tension or discomfort. Sometimes it is related to some type of physical activity they do, for example shoveling the snow or lifting boxes or heavy objects, but in few cases low back tension stays kind of on a background and really impacts daily life.
I took a look at the stats on low back pain and it shows that
- it is a #1 reason for disability claims in North America,
- 45% of people say that low back pain negatively affects their work, fitness, and lifestyle,
- 85% of workers are suffering from back pain in their lifetime,
- it is a 2nd most common reason for missing work and 5th most common reason for a doctor visit.
Good news is that with proper care and exercise routine, you can manage it or prevent it altogether. Let’s take a look at a few Pilates exercises to help your back get in better shape, stretch tight muscles and build a stronger core (abdominal muscles) to support it. I made a few videos with 5 key pilates movements to start feeling better if you can commit 10-20 min a day and do those exercises regularly.
Best way to start is to stretch muscles at your back, loosen up and release any tension. Get rolling, try to soften through your body while doing knee roll exercises.
Work on your stability through the lower body, primarily hip area. The next few movements in the video are focused exactly on this. Isn’t it already challenging standing on opposite knee and hand? It is! Just try this pilates exercise and you should feel the fire in your abs and bum (glut muscles) that support stability through your body.
Next step is to get your abs work for you to support low back. You need that stability from the front of your body in order to take some load off your low back muscles, to keep them more relaxed and prevent from overworking. Let’s get moving…
What are other areas of our body that support low back? Guess what, it’s your bum or big muscle group called gluts! Few of most common movements where low back muscles should give some of the work load to gluts are when you are lifting heavy objects, shoveling snow, going up the hill or up stairs (some of us are doing this every single day, right?). So, let’s explore some common hip extension pilates exercises, called Pilates Bridge with some modifications.
And what I love about Pilates exercises that they are very functional and practical. Once you learn how to engage your muscles to support certain movements, you can easily apply them to your daily life.
Another area to focus on is rotational stability. Turning to one side or another is a very common movement in our everyday life. Think how many times at work your are turning on your chair to grab something from a shelf, getting in and out of your car, caring a baby around the house, putting groceries in your car, etc. The truth is that we more or less tend to turn to one side (our preferred one) thus creating a bit of imbalance in our rotational muscles called “obliques”. The next set of exercises focuses on turning your body and balancing those muscles, making them work equally.
Let’s keep moving and stay free from pain, so we can enjoy activities whether it’s hiking, walking with your dog, chasing your grand kids, running, kayaking, etc.!
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