Stronger Back and Leaner Body

5
Jan
0

Moves, tips and treatment options to keep your back pain-free for life

Get a Stronger, Sexier Back—in Seven Easy Steps

Healthy, pain-free backs don’t just happen. As we age, a lifetime of bad posture and too much sitting catches up with us, weakening some muscles while causing others to tighten. Every back can benefit from a regular exercise program that restores strength, keeps the spine flexible and maintains the natural curves of the neck and middle and lower back. Doing the seven exercises in the The Stronger, Sexier Back Workout will train the muscles that surround your back to build a natural corset, stabilizing the spine. These moves will also stretch tight, overused muscles, allowing you to move with less strain. Warm up first with 10 minutes of brisk walking, cycling or light jogging, and perform the exercises slowly and with control. Do this routine two to three times a week.

Tension-Taming Moves to Make You Look Longer And Leaner

The Alexander Technique is a century-old method of improving your posture—and relieving back pain—that requires nothing more than the ability to concentrate your mind so you consciously control how you move. These subtle, energizing exercises, based on Alexander Technique principles, help you develop proper, more natural posture through enhanced body awareness. “These exercises teach you to become more in tune with your body as you learn to let go of your body’s tension,” explains Hope Gillerman, who teaches the technique in New York City. Practicing these moves every day (or more often, if possible) will help improve your breathing and reduce stress on your spine, muscles and joints as you resume your natural balance.

According to the Alexander Technique, most of us had perfect balance and coordination as children. Bad habits developed over time (slumping to hide a developing figure, hunching in front of a computer) may eventually lead to back pain. As if that weren’t enough, we’re also inclined to bend the lumbar spine (lower back) as if it had hinge joints like an elbow (such as when you brush your teeth and bend at the waist), a misuse that can lead to more discomfort.

Alexander Technique moves will eventually come to seem like your own natural way of walking, sitting and lying down. One caveat: However poor your posture is, it feels right to you now. Changing it can feel uncomfortable. Don’t rely on feel, but on sight: Use mirrors and store windows as gauges.

We’ve come up with an easy-to-follow slide show of basic moves you can do at home. While doing the exercises, run through this mental checklist: Relax your neck, imagining your head floating up; expand your shoulders and lengthen your spine.

To find an Alexander Technique teacher in your area, call the American Society of the Alexander Technique at 800-473-0620.

Solutions

Whether it’s your shoulder, spine or neck that hurts, it’s hard to know how best to diminish the pain. Do you ice an achy shoulder? Or are you better off with heat? Will exercise exacerbate the problem or make your weak back stronger? To end confusion once and for all, we’ve put together a comprehensive list addressing the pros, cons and costs of different back-pain remedies

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