Two important concepts in a healthy lifestyle to consider are Balance and Moderation. In a sense they are synonymous with each other. If your diet is poorly managed and you don’t do exercise on a regular basis you are out of balance. If that diet is unhealthy and driven by packaged foods, fast foods or excessive sweets and sugars you are not exercising moderation.
The part of the core of the body that takes the brunt of this neglect, or abuse, is the back. In fact, eight out of 10 Americans will experience back pain in their lifetime. Lower back strength allows us to stand and lift objects. These muscles also support spinal function. They are important for your posture and to alleviate any lower back pain.
There are several exercises to strengthen the lower back muscles, but the following three are both simple and intelligent and also can be performed while you are having back discomfort. They can be easily done at home without a gym membership.
Bird Dog– The first exercise begins with you in the kneeling position with your hands on the floor directly below your shoulders. Now you begin by raising your right leg straight behind you, feeling like you are kicking your heel into a wall. Raise the opposite arm, the left in this case, and reach out as well as far as you can. Keep your core engages through the process. Do these ten times for each side and then repeat the set about four or five times. This floor exercise strengthens the abdominal muscles, your lower back muscles, your butt and your thighs.
Bent-Knee Hollow Hold– Now you are going to roll over on to your back. You want to concentrate on keeping your lower back flat towards the floor. No arching or space between the back and the ground. Raise both knees so they are not at 90 degrees but in front of your hips and let your legs bend at the knees, so your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Do not get the knees to 90 degrees or beyond or you will nullify the work being done by the abdominals. If you want to increase the challenge lift your arms up and reach your arms to the knees or parallel to the floor. Do this exercise five rounds holding those knees up for 20 to 30 seconds each time.
Side Plank– Finish your set of three exercises with the side plank. Chose a side to lay on, and then come up to your elbow or totally extending your arm. Now lift your hips off the floor. You want a nice straight line from your armpit to your knee and your ankle. This very simple exercise does marvelous things for your core as well as strengthening your wrists and shoulders. It can improve your balance and improve your concentration as well but most importantly it is the core work that we are focusing on to improve the back discomfort or pain. Do these for 10 to 20 seconds per side, four to five rounds total. As the exercise gets easier extend the duration of the hold.