Did you know that up to 80 percent of Americans will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives? If you are one of them, you know how frustrating and debilitating it can be. Lower back pain can be caused by many factors, such as muscle strain, poor posture, injury, aging, or underlying conditions. But there is hope. Research shows that simple exercises can help prevent and relieve lower back pain by strengthening your spine and core muscles and improving your posture and flexibility. In this article, we will show you what types of exercises are beneficial for your lower back, how often and how long to do them, and what mistakes to avoid.
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Types of Exercises for Lower Back Pain
There are two main types of exercises that can help prevent and relieve lower back pain: cardio and core work.
- Cardio exercises are any activities that increase your heart rate and blood circulation. They can help reduce inflammation, improve mood, and promote healing in your lower back. Some examples of cardio exercises are walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing. You can choose any activity that you enjoy and that does not cause or worsen your pain.
- Core work exercises are any activities that target your core muscles. These include your abdominal, back, hip, pelvic floor, and gluteal muscles. They can help support your spine, improve your posture, and prevent injuries. Some examples of core work exercises are planks, bridges, bird dogs, cat-cows, pelvic tilts, side planks, and supermans. You can also use resistance bands or weights to increase the challenge.
How Often and How Long to Exercise for Lower Back Pain
The frequency and duration of your exercise routine depend on your current fitness level, goals, and preferences. However, here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise per week. This means that you should be able to talk but not sing while doing the activity. You can break it down into smaller sessions of 10 minutes or more throughout the day.
- Aim for at least two sessions of core work exercise per week. This means that you should do at least one set of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. You can gradually increase the number of sets or repetitions as you get stronger.
- Warm up before each exercise session with some gentle stretches or movements to prepare your muscles and joints for the activity.
- Cool down after each exercise session with some more stretches or movements to relax your muscles and joints and prevent stiffness.
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Mistakes to Avoid When Exercising for Lower Back Pain
While exercising can be beneficial for your lower back pain, it can also cause or worsen it if you do it incorrectly or excessively. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when exercising for lower back pain:
- Slouching or curving your back while exercising. This can put extra pressure on your discs and nerves and lead to pain. Always keep your back straight or in its neutral position when exercising. Use a mirror or a partner to check your form if needed.
- Lifting heavy objects or weights without proper technique. This can strain your muscles and ligaments and cause injury. Always use your legs to lift objects or weights from the floor. Keep them close to your body and avoid twisting or jerking movements.
- Avoiding exercise altogether when you have lower back pain. This can make your muscles weak and stiff and prolong your recovery. Unless your doctor advises otherwise, you should continue to exercise within your pain tolerance. Modify or skip any exercises that cause or increase your pain.
Lower back pain is a common and complex problem that can affect your quality of life. But you can take charge of your health and well-being by doing simple exercises that can help prevent and relieve lower back pain. By doing regular cardio and core work exercises, you can strengthen your spine and core muscles, improve your posture and flexibility, and reduce your risk of injury. Just remember to avoid common mistakes that can cause or worsen your lower back pain, such as slouching, lifting heavy objects, or avoiding exercise altogether. Start today and see how exercise can make a difference in your lower back pain. You deserve to feel better and live better.
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