Would you believe we spend, on average 9.3 hours a day just sitting in a chair, contributing to poor posture and back pain? It's likely you're sitting reading this now in an idle capacity. Even worse, those working eight hours or more per day, while sitting at a vertical incline, exert more pressure on their lower back, resulting in long term postural problems.
To alleviate back pain, experts recommend reducing time spent in chairs, and adding daily exercises that stretch and strengthen the back. Here are seven simple stretches to help prevent discomfort and protect the lower back;
Exercise 1 - Lower back stretch; sit with back straight against back of chair and slowly pull left knee up towards chest, as far, yet as comfortably possible. Hold position and count to 5. Now switch to the right knee and slowly pull up towards chest. Hold position and count to 5. Switch legs and repeat the cycle again.
Exercise 2 - Seated stretch; keeping your back straight, interlace your fingers and stretch your arms forward in front of you. Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds and you should be able to feel your back extending forward. Repeat at least twice.
Exercise 3 - Lateral rotation on chair; sit on a chair or bench, and rotate upper body to the side. Remain in position for ten seconds, return to starting position and repeat the movement to the other side. The head and shoulders should always stay upright and no slouching.
Exercise 4 - Stretch those thighs; standing upright, behind your chair, grasping the chair for support, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Bend right leg towards your butt and take your right hand and grasp ankle. Hold position and count to 10. Switch legs and repeat process with your leg side.
Exercise 5 - Stretch the neck and back. Tension in the neck encourages back pain. Stretching will help relax the muscles. Interlock the fingers and place behind your head. Look up to the ceiling, elongating the neck - chin should face the ceiling - and stretching the back. You should hold this stretch at least 15 seconds and breathe easy.
Exercise 6 - You can perform this sitting or standing. Place your right hand over your left shoulder and turn your head to the opposite shoulder. Hold this position 15 seconds. You must perform the same exercise on both sides.
Exercise 7 - Ease tension off the hips. While sitting, take your left foot and rest it on the opposite knee, if necessary, grasp hold of an object to help steady yourself. Repeat with the other foot and hold the position for at least 15 seconds.
Surprisingly, exercise can prevent and in some cases, eliminate many back problems, yet this solution is often the last remedy we embrace. If you’re one of the 1.5 billion people suffering with back pain, engage in more exercise and exchange a sedentary lifestyle for a fully-active schedule.