Mar 07 2013
Beneficial Back Stretches
It’s the moment that makes you cringe. You stand up to take a step, and your back seizes, making it difficult to walk. Chronic low back pain is caused by incorrect lifting, overexertion, sleep positions that strain your back, or sitting for prolonged periods. Staying active is an important part of preventing back pain, and Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett recommends these stretches to ease pain and to maintain a healthy back.
Free Your Back
- Lie on your back, keep one leg flat and bring the other knee to your chest. Position your lower back in neutral, where it is most comfortable for you. Holding behind the knee, use your arms to press your leg closer. Feel the stretch through the hip flexors in front of the straight leg and through the gluteus maximus muscle in back of the bent leg. Hold for 10-seconds, allowing the straight leg to relax, and switch legs. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
- Stay on your back and lay both legs on the floor. Keep one leg on the ground, raise the other as straight as possible, and gently pull it up and back with your hands, until you feel a comfortable stretch. Bend your knee as needed and tighten your abdominals for support. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, and switch legs. Repeat 3 times.
- Sit up, spread your legs wide, and keep your back straight. Bend your left knee and reach toward your right foot, bending at the hips with chest lifted until you feel a light stretch. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and switch legs. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Maintain a Healthy, Pain-free Back
- Lie flat on your stomach and feel the stretch through your hip flexors. If this is a comfortable position, place your palms on the floor, on each side of your chest, and raise your chest and shoulders off the floor to prop up on your forearms, elbows positioned under your shoulders. Hold for 30 seconds as long as there is no discomfort.
A safe, well-rounded exercise program includes flexion, extension, side bending and rotation of your lumbar spine as well as good posture and core muscle strengthening exercises. If you feel pain with any of the exercises, stop and contact your physician.
Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. She has advanced the business opportunities of women and men in the fitness industry by growing the program into an international franchise business that today, hosts a network of 7,800 instructors teaching more than 32,000 classes weekly in 32 countries.
The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, cardio box and Latin style movements, has positively affected millions of people worldwide. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor. Additional Jazzercise programs include Junior Jazzercise, Jazzercise Lite and Personal Touch. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.