Pilates for Pain
Exercise can help with back pain—you’ve probably heard that before. And Pilates tops the list of “helpful for your back” exercises.
This shows 4 Pilates moves to prevent pain. Of course, talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise plan.
Warm-up Your Spine with this Exercise
The cat/cow stretch lengthens and strengthens the muscles along your spine.
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- Start on hands (shoulder-distance apart) and knees (hip-distance apart).
- Inhale and look up as you slightly arch your spine. Then exhale, engage your abdominal muscles, and draw your belly button toward your spine as you gaze at your navel. Repeat 5 to 10 times every day.
Not Your Average Sit-up
The chest lift is similar to a basic crunch. The difference? This move deeply targets your abs.
- Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat (hip-distance apart). Bring hands behind head with fingertips touching. Elbows are wide open.
- Inhale, and then as you exhale, pull belly button toward the spine and lift the shoulders off the ground (leading with chest). Really use your abs to lift—not your neck. Inhale again as you release toward the ground. Repeat 6 to 8 times daily.
A Pose to Help Ease Low Back Pain
Doing this exercise regularly teaches you how to engage your abs to help support and lengthen the low back.
- Start by lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat (hip-distance apart).
- Arms are straight along the sides of your body and palms are touching the ground. Inhale deeply and engage your abs as you lift your hips off the floor—vertebra by vertebra.
- Exhale and roll back down very slowly, engaging core muscles. Link breath with movement. Repeat 3 to 5 times daily.
An Easy, Restorative Stretch
This move really stretches tight, sore low back muscles.
- From hands and knees, bring hips toward heels, and stretch arms in front of you so palms are touching the ground.
- Press forehead gently to the floor and do some deep belly breathing. Bring hands toward the legs to slowly sit up. Repeat 3 times daily.
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