The reasons for feeling discomfort along your back are pretty complex, but too much sitting or staying in one position for too long can be among the modern-day culprits. If your back feels stiff and lacks flexibility (especially in your upper back), try out these stretches from the bendy folks at GMB Fitness.
Do you sit in an office chair or on your couch for more than six hours a day? Then here are some disturbing facts. Your risk of heart disease has increased by up to 64 per cent. You're shaving off seven years of quality life. You're also more at risk for certain types of cancer. Simply put, sitting is killing you. That's the bad news. The good news. It's easy to counteract no matter how lazy you are.
As GMB's article notes:
Back pain and stiffness aren't necessarily a sign that you have bodily damage, but it's a signal from your brain that there is something going on that it doesn't like.
The above video goes through a routine that essentially loosens up your back and helps you move better, and better movement translates to better performance in the gym, too. Here's an overview of the six back stretches:
- Prone extension: While lying on your stomach, prop yourself on your elbows and lift only your upper back off the floor as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Be careful not to engage and put strain on your lower back.
- Wag tail: You're on your hands, below your shoulders, and your knees are out behind your hips. Lift your feet off the floor and wag side to side while keeping your back flat. The movement is mainly bending side to side, using your knees to pivot.
- Quadruped sidebend: This is like the child's pose from yoga, where you're kneeling, bending forward, and stretching your arms and hands in front of you. Here, though, you also bend 45-degrees to each side to stretch your lat muscles.
- Quadruped torso rotation: This one can be tough for people with low flexibility in their shoulders and upper back. Start in a kneeling position, place one arm behind you like a chicken wing, with your hand on your low back, and pretend like you're trying to point the bent elbow toward the ceiling.
- Half pancake: Sit on the floor and have one leg stretched out to the side and the other leg tucked into the body. Slowly bend your torso toward the side of the outstretched leg.
- A-frame to squat: This combines several movements and can be fairly advanced. You start pretty much in a downward dog position. Just focus on keeping your arms and back straight, even if you can't keep your legs straight. Then go into a squat, pause, and back to downward dog, while keeping your hands on the ground the whole time.
Of course, never try to push past pain if it comes up. For more information on each exercise, check out the link below. And if you need exercise demonstrations, hit the play button on the video above.