When you think about heading to the gym to sweat out your lunch that you may or may not have overindulged on, do you think about exercises for a healthy spine? There’s a good chance that you are more worried about what your abs look like and how to tone that skin under your arms. The truth is, you need to be worrying about how to keep a healthy spine for life.
Looks are going to fade eventually, and all your left with is how well your body is functioning for you. Did you know that your spinal cord is basically an extension of your brain? While your mind may be the motherboard of operations, the spinal cord is filled with nerve endings and neurons that send signals out to the rest of the body. Without a proper functioning and a healthy spine, the human body does not run optimally.
There’s a high probability that you’re pretty curious about how to keep that part of your body in shape along with the outward appearance at this point. Here are five excellent exercises for a healthy spine.
When you are doing these exercises for a healthy spine, you are actually going to be working the muscles around the spine and strengthening your back, buttocks, and other areas of the body. The bridge is one of the most common and easiest spinal cord strengthening exercises. Along with the building up of the back and buttocks, you will be working your hamstrings.
- Start on your back and bend your knees. Keep them about shoulder width apart.
- While leaving your shoulders on the floor, use your back and buttocks muscles to raise your hips up towards to the ceiling until you form a line with your body.
- Hold yourself up in the position for about five seconds and then slowly lower your body back to the starting position.
- Do 10 reps three times.
Hip Crossover Stretching
If you’ve ever experienced sciatica pain or something similar, you may have disrupted your piriformis muscle located at the base of the spine in the hip and buttock region. A good spinal cord exercise that keeps that from getting inflamed or irritated is hip crossover stretches.
- Start lying on your back with your knees bent at a shoulder-width distance apart.
- Take your left ankle and cross it over your right knee.
- Start pulling your left knee towards your right shoulder slowly and hold for 30 seconds
- You will feel a stretch in the buttocks and hips.
- Slowly lower and start over doing the same motions three times on each side.
Abdominal Spine Exercises
When you are completing any abdominal bracing type of exercises for a healthy spine, you are automatically working to stabilize and strengthen the spine. For a excellent abdominal workout that achieves this:
- Start on your back with your knees bent and shoulder length apart.
- Raise up your right knee and aim for your right hand. When they meet, push against the knee for resistance.
- Hold in that position for at least five seconds before slowly lowering to the starting position.
- Do the same movement on the opposite side.
- Rotate from right to left and do a total of 20 repetitions.
Squat Spinal Cord Exercise
Are you picturing something like this when you hear the term ‘squat’?
Don’t worry. That’s not what you’re going to have to do for these exercises for a healthy spine. In fact, doing squats in that form can cause more harm than good unless you have slowly built your muscles up to being able to handle something like that. This alternative exercise will work at building your core and strengthening your legs for a more stable spine and a lower risk for injury.
- Sit on the edge of your bed or a chair.
- Place your arms over your chest by crossing them and touching your fingers to your shoulders.
- Push your feet into the floor and squeeze your buttocks while you stand up.
- Be sure to keep your neck and back in proper alignment.
- Slowly go down back to the sitting position using those same muscles.
- Do 10 squats for a set and three sets total.
Bent-Over Rowing Spinal Cord Strengthening Exercises
Along with providing strength to your muscles, strengthening exercises also help in stabilizing the spine. A steady spine ensures proper posture. With the right ergonomics of the back and spinal cord, you are less likely to experience back pain. Bent-over rows will work your upper body.
- Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, slightly bend the knees.
- Keep your back neutral and then bend at the waist until your upper body is at a 70-degree angle.
- Dangle your arms straight down at your sides.
- You can use light weights for this or pretend as if you’re holding weights if you have an injury.
- Pull your elbows back until they are bent at 90-degrees and even with the level of your shoulders. (Your elbows should come straight out from your shoulders.)
- Do this 10 to 20 times in three different sets.
Going Beyond the Gym
You don’t have to continually be working out to ensure that you have a healthy spine. Other actions can be taken in your everyday life to help in keeping your spine healthy and your body happy.
First of all, be sure that you have a good shoe. This is true when you are doing your exercises for a healthy spine too. If you aren’t wearing a properly fitting shoe that supports your body, it’s easy for things to shift out of alignment.
Take advantage of the health benefits of massage once in a while. Of course, it feels fantastic to get one, but it also sends blood and healing nutrients to the area the therapist or chiropractor is working on. If you are suffering from back pain, the endorphins are a natural painkiller.
Maintain a good posture at all times. If you have to sit a lot for work. Try and get up and walk around as much as you can to reduce the amount of pressure on your spinal cord. Spend the money and get a comfortable chair too! It’ll be worth it.
Finally, when you are sleeping, you want your spine to get the most relaxation and rest possible. Get a comfortable mattress and a good pillow so that you can get the best quality of sleep for your entire body.
Back Health & Posture. (2015, June 20). Retrieved August 14, 2018, from Cleveland Clinic: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/4485-back-health–posture
Bridwell, M. K., & Rodts, D. M. (n.d.). Spinal Muscles: A Comprehensive Guide. Retrieved August 14, 2018, from SpineUniverse: https://www.spineuniverse.com/anatomy/spinal-muscles-1
Hyde, D. D. (2006, October 11). Abdominal Exercises and Back Exercises – Getting Started. Retrieved August 14, 2018, from Spine Health: https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/abdominal-exercises-and-back-exercises-getting-started
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