4 Essential Moves for a Healthy Back

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Keep the muscles that support your back flexible and healthy with these chair-supported exercises.

Lower back pain is annoyingly common. In fact, one in four adults in the U.S. experienced it in the last three months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

“When pain flares, it’s not just exercise that you miss out on, it’s life, too,” says fitness expert Larysa DiDio. “With back pain, you tend to do less and that can make your pain worse.” 

While it’s easy to blame the agony on heavy lifting or bending over to pick something up, often the culprit is much more benign: sitting. 

Here’s where a quick anatomy refresher can help you: Your lower back, or lumbar spine, is comprised of five vertebrae at the base of the spine. These vertebrae are insulated by small, cushioning discs and are attached to ligaments and muscles. 

These muscles are part of your core, which includes the ab and oblique muscles, as well as the muscles that support your hip joints. Lower back pain that originates in these particular muscles can be lessened or improved with simple stretches.

“Sitting too long causes tight hamstrings and weak glutes,” DiDio explains. “What’s more, your hip muscles and constantly shortened — this pulls on your pelvis and in turn strains the muscles in your lower back. It’s a chain reaction that results in lower back pain.”  

How to Use the 4 Essential Moves for a Healthy Back  

To strengthen and stretch your lower back muscles, hamstring, and glute muscles to help relieve (or, even better, prevent!) pain, press play to try the four exercises along with DiDio. Do them before heading to bed, after a workout, or anytime you feel pain beginning to flare up.  

Remember, exercise and stretching should feel good. You should expect to feel a slight pulling sensation as you stretch, but don’t go beyond your comfort zone. 

As always, safety is key. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can stretch safely. 

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Bonus Challenge: Try a Gentle Stretch (Express) Class 

Want more guidance? Join us for a 15-minute Gentle Stretch (Express) class. It’s a soothing sequence that will help ease tension and aid movement. Its offered online with SilverSneakers LIVE. See the latest SilverSneakers LIVE schedule and RSVP for classes here. 

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