It may surprise you to learn that back pain often results from other parts of the body, such as the hamstrings for example. Adequately stretching your hamstrings is an important part of keeping the back strong and should be incorporated in any back stretches you are already doing. Stretching your hamstrings on a regular basis is imperative if you want to keep your back and legs healthy for a good long time. Here are some must-do hamstring stretches for optimum health.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Stand with legs straight but without locking the knees. Bend forward slowly at the waist, allowing your hands to hang out. Strive to touch the floor with your hands but do not push yourself too hard. Bend the knees lightly as necessary to help with the bend. You should feel the stretch in the backs of your legs. You should aim to be able to touch your toes with your legs straight over time, but do not lock your knees as this can cut off circulation and cause damage.
Sitting Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the floor with your back straight and legs stretched out in front of you. Bend forward at the waist, aiming to touch your toes. You can complete this stretch with one leg at a time or both legs at a time as desired. The sitting hamstring stretch can put less strain on the back and legs as compared to the standing hamstring stretch and other such back stretches. If you have trouble touching your toes from a standing position, practice this stretch first.
Hamstring Stretch with Towel
For this stretch you should lie down on the floor, wrapping a small towel around the bottom of one foot. Hold the towel on each side, then use it to draw the leg up gently until it is straight. Straightening your leg will deepen the stretch. Try this stretch with one leg at a time or both legs at once depending on comfort level. This is a gentler version of these aforementioned back stretches since it allows complete control over the strain that you place on your leg.
Hamstring Stretch on the Wall
This is another option when seeking out gentle back stretches involving your hamstrings. The hamstring stretch on the wall calls for you to lie on the floor with your buttocks against the wall. Place your leg or legs up the wall, gently straightening your knee until you feel the stretch in your hamstring. Make sure that you keep your back and buttocks flat on the floor and only place your legs as far up the wall as is comfortable. Adjust your leg as necessary to stretch your hamstrings.
When stretching your hamstrings, you should aim to work each hamstring muscle for between 30 and 45 seconds at a time. If you do this between one and two times daily you will definitely notice an improvement in the strength and flexibility of your back and legs. Your hamstring muscles will begin to lengthen over time and this will lessen the stress you place on the lower back. Remember that being able to touch your toes is just the beginning, and does not mean that your hamstrings are as flexible as they can be.
It will benefit you to stretch your back and legs every single day in order to create good health and well being. Practicing these simple hamstring and back stretches is an important part of that. Strong, limber hamstrings will help to improve the overall health of your back, keeping it strong and preventing many back pain issues in the process.