Watch Your Back - A Spinal Workout
Remember that keeping active is really good for you
If your back or any of your joints hurt, check with your doctor or therapist before trying any new activity.
         
 
CALF STRETCH…
 
CALF STRETCH…

Back of leg, below knee
Stand facing a wall, with your hands lightly resting flat on the wall, at about shoulder height. One foot forward in a lunging position.

Keeping both heels on the floor, bend the front knee. (You will feel the stretch in the calf of the back leg). Make sure that you keep your body upright (ie don’t stick your bottom out!). To stretch the deeper calf muscle, you can bend the back knee so that you are ‘sitting down’ with your weight over the back leg. (You should still feel the stretch in the calf of the back leg.) Repeat with the other leg forward.

 
         
         
 
BACK THIGH STRETCH…
 
BACK THIGH STRETCH…

Hamstring stretch
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift one knee towards your chest, support behind the thigh with both hands. Fully straighten your leg. Flex your foot towards you to add a stretch for the calf. Hold for 6-10 seconds. Carefully lower the leg. Repeat with the other leg (x 2 each side).

NB If you cannot reach to hold behind your thigh use a towel to help

 
         
         
 
FRONT THIGH STRETCH…
 

FRONT THIGH STRETCH…

Quadriceps stretch
Stand next to a wall sideways on, placing your left hand on the wall for support with your elbow slightly bent.

Make sure you are close enough to the wall to feel steady and upright. Keeping your S shape spine and tucked in tummy, lift the right heel off the floor up towards your buttocks. Hold this heel lift where comfortable bending your left knee gently as you stand bearing the weight on your left leg. You will be gently stretching the front of your right thigh. Hold for six seconds breathing gently.

 
         
         
 
STANDING BACK RELAXATION…
 

STANDING BACK RELAXATION…

Standing with your back facing the wall
Let the wall take your weight by slowly leaning back until your shoulder
blades and base of your spine are against the wall. Draw in your lower
tummy muscles. Adjust your feet and bend or straighten your legs until
your lower back is comfortably ‘sitting’ against the wall. Drop your
shoulders, breathe out and relax.

 
         
         
 
MID-SPINE STRETCH…
 
MID-SPINE STRETCH…

On the floor, on all fours. You need to make sure that your shoulders are over your hands and your hips are over your knees, so that your back is flat.

Keeping your hands firmly in place on the floor, smoothly sit back on your heels. You should feel the stretch between your shoulders and down the
middle of your back.

 

 
         
         
 
GOLFERS LIFT…
 

GOLFERS LIFT…

Imagine a golfer who leans on their putter and lifts one leg behind whilst retrieving the ball from the hole. This is a useful lift when you have to lift light objects and there is something solid to hold on to.

Hold onto the support (chair, table, etc) with your right hand. Pull your tummy button in towards your spine. Stand on your right leg and bend at the hips, keeping your back straight and gently lift a straight left leg behind you as you lift the object. If one side of your back is weak, lift and straighten the leg of your weak side which will keep your spine in its natural curves and stable.

 
         
         
 
LIFTING AND CARRYING…
  LIFTING AND CARRYING…

Ask yourself: ‘do I need to lift this?’; ‘can I lift this without over stretching or straining myself?’; ‘can I lift this without losing my balance or bending
my back?’

Always keep the object close to your body. Keep your back straight. Bend your knees and hips not your back. Push up using your thighs. Do not reach forwards. Move close to the object.

Adopt a wide stable base (place your knee and foot – or both feet – about hip width apart). Hold your tummy in and breathe when lifting. Turn your feet and don’t twist when lifting. Try and lift with smooth movements.

 
         
         
 
ARM STRENGTHENING…
 
ARM STRENGTHENING…

Easy press-up
Kneel on all fours. Hands placed under your shoulders, knees hips width apart; your body evenly balanced over your hands and knees and your back straight (not dipped) with tummy ‘hollowed’ (abdominal hollowing).

Gently, bend your elbows, lower your chin towards the floor and push up to starting position. Repeat building up from 5-10 times. Then sit up, relax,
change your body position if need and shake your arms to loosen your
wrists and shoulders.

 
         
 
A Spinal Workout For Girls   Click here to download A Spinal Workout For Girls Exercise Sheet.
     
    Click here for details of BackCare’s booklet “Active Back Care
 
BackCare - The Charity for Healthier Backs Osmond Group - Ergonomic Workplace Solutions