A full 70-80% of us can expect to have at least one episode of low back pain in our lifetime. Unfortunately, the common desk chair is one of the prime causes!
Sitting for a long period of time can put a lot of stress and tension on our muscles, bones, ligaments, joints, tendons, and discs. Extreme sedentary behavior can even weaken our postural muscles and lead to abnormal muscle and joint capsule tightness.
Fortunately, improving your core strength and endurance can help relieve your back pain! Yes, this isn’t just about getting nice abs (though that’s definitely a nice bonus). A strong core is like having a stable base from which you can safely move, lift, run, push, pull, and climb.
Plus, strong and enduring postural muscles help stabilize your lower back and can improve your posture while doing multiple types of movements.
3 Ways to Find Strength in Your Core and Lose Pain in Your Back
A quick note: if your back pain is more than just a little nagging ache, you should chat with a doctor or physical therapist. That said, here are a few simple exercises you can try at home that have been shown to relieve low back pain and stiffness and increase your core strength at the same time:
1) Bird Dog
Start on all fours with your back flat, and your chin tucked. Brace your abs. Slowly extend your right arm ahead of you and your left leg behind you. Hold for one second, then lower and switch to the other side.
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Start on your hands and toes, with your hips and shoulders level (like the top of a push up). You can simply brace your abs and hold here, or lower down onto your forearms. Squeeze your butt and legs, too. Too tough on the toes? Drop to your knees instead—still super challenging.
Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Flatten the small of your back into the ground. Holding this position, squeeze your butt, press through your heels, and lift your hips into the air. Hold for a second at the top, then slowly lower.
3 Simple Life Hacks to Help You Sit Less
1) Schedule Some Chair-Free Time
Scheduling periodic rest breaks while at work is helpful and important. Ideally, you’ll get up from your chair at least once every 30-60 minutes for a quick walk around your office. As a reminder, try setting a quiet alarm on your phone or smartwatch.
2) Drink Tons of Water
For those days when you’re super focused and forgetting or even foregoing your hourly walks, you can “force” yourself to get up from your chair by staying super hydrated with more walks to the water cooler. Bonus! Sufficient water intake will keep your tissues more pliable and hydrated.
3) Invest in a Stand-Up Desk
You may work in an office setting where you can have a sit-to-stand workstation. This is all the rage across corporate America. Aside from reducing or preventing back pain, standing up while working has even been shown to help you burn more calories and increase your productivity and mental focus. Standing desks, not an option? Try monitor lifters!
Do you have back pain? Give some of these exercises, and life hacks a try and let us know what you think!