Back pain is a problem that affects many, but there are preventative exercises that can eliminate it by helping to support the spine and build strength. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.
For many, aches and pains are just a part of everyday life, especially back pain, but it doesn’t have to be.
"Pain in general, and specifically back pain, is something that you don’t have to live with. A lot of times people don’t even realize that they're in pain until they're out of it, so coming in and doing preventative exercises is really key to having an active, healthy lifestyle," says Hallee Altman, a Pilates instructor and the owner of the Center Studio in Manhattan.
Many people turn to physical therapy or Pilates to help support the spine and build strength, so NY1 asked Altman to demonstrate a few back building exercises. First, knee slides.
"First, zip those abdominals in and up, you're going to lengthen one leg away from you, drawing your abdominals in the opposite direction, take a breath and then on the exhale use your abdominals to bring the leg in, not your leg," says Altman.
Then do the other leg. To make this more difficult you can use a ball with both legs. While you're there you can also do toe taps. Here you engage your ab muscles and try not to have any movement in the pelvis as you lift one leg up to the tabletop position then tap it back down. For a more challenging option, try starting with both legs up and alternate taps. Next, the roll down.
"The roll down is a good one, not only to stretch out your lower back but to also strengthen your abdominals. You curl your naval in rolling down until the arms straighten, breath, draw the naval in more and round back up," says Altman.
A great way to stretch the back after a long day or first thing in the morning is with an exercise called the cat cow.
"You start by drawing your naval in and curing your tail underneath you as you round your spine. Then keeping the core engaged, lengthen your head and tail away from you as you move into an arch," says Altman.
From there you can try kneeling swimming. Engage your muscles so your naval is tight and alternate lifting one arm out in front of you without shifting your weight. Then do the same thing with one leg at a time. For more of a challenge you can alternate one arm and leg at the same time.
Now if you have any back issues you should speak to your doctor before trying these exercises.