10-Minute Stretch Video: Beginner's Flexibility Exercises for Back Pain
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, or ACSM, the average American adult should perform at least 150 minutes (2 hours, 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity exercise each week. For those with chronic back pain, attempting to add an exercise routine may prove to be challenging. That’s why the ACSM suggests beginner flexibility exercises in the morning as a way to help warm the muscles in the lower back, which can get tighter during the day. All you need are a few minutes each day to help increase your lower back flexibility. The flexibility exercises demonstrated below are great for beginners and should be done at least two or three days per week. This helps improve range of motion while removing tension from the muscles. Each stretch should be held comfortably for 10-30 seconds. A sign that the stretch is effective is when you feel some tightness or a little discomfort. It should be slightly uncomfortable, but not painful. Each stretch should be done two to four times for a total of 60 seconds per stretch. Flexibility stretches are most effective when the muscle is warm, so if you’re feeling especially tight, take a light to brisk walk or a hot bath to warm your muscles first.
Benefits of Stretching
Flexibility exercises can help you throughout your day by improving your posture, reducing the number of aches and pains you feel, increasing the blood flow in your lower back, and giving you a bump in energy. Let’s explore each briefly.
For those who sit at a desk or drive for long periods of time as part of their occupation, stretching tight muscles helps to overcome the negative effects of extended sitting. Whether you're hunching over a desk or lean at the hips while at a steering wheel, your muscles can become tight, which leads to poor posture and lower back pain. "Stretching helps correct habitual posture problems, which can translate to reduced lower back pain," says Joshua Duvauchelle, an ACE-certified personal trainer in Vancouver, Canada. Taking time to get up from your desk to stretch your arms, neck, lower back, and hip flexors can go a long way to a pain-free workday. If you’re in a car or truck, aim to pull off periodically for brief stretch breaks.
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the U.S. Waking up to a sore and painful back can be debilitating which leads to more instances of employees using sick days to nurse bad backs. Performing daily lower back flexibility stretches can help with opening up a compressed spine. Stretches like the knees to chest stretch, spine lengthener, and back extensions right from your bed are a great way to release discomfort prior to your feet touching the floor.
Increases Blood Flow
Since your lower back absorbs a great deal of stress through supporting most of your body's weight, stretching aids in circulating blood to vital organs, increasing oxygen levels to improve cell growth and function in your muscles. One other result of increased blood flow—a better mood. “That's because stretching increases your blood flow and circulation for a healthier body and sends oxygen to your brain for a clearer mind and sunnier moods,” says Peggy Hall, wellness expert.
Ready to Move?
If you’re ready to have better mornings which lead to more productive days, try these flexibility exercises, which are easy to do and designed for beginners. Watch the video below to get started