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How To Stretch Your Back to Strengthen Your Wellness

At Hilton Head Health, we offer a weight loss program and wellness program that educates our Guests on the importance of listening to their bodies as we help them create their health and wellness path and reach their weight loss goals. When our Guests pay attention to what their bodies are telling them, a new or improved workout regiment can be much more effective in bringing postive fitness and health results rather than worsening pre-existing conditions or issues. Today, we’ll talk specifically about the importance of maintaining a  properly stretched back in order to help strengthen overall physical wellness, which will in turn help contribute to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.

A strong, flexible back is a crucial component to good posture, increased metabolism, improvement in bending and prevention of aches, pains and serious injury. Your back muscles help to stabilize your torso and to hold your body upright and forward, making it easier to walk and run in proper form.  The back is one of the most injury-prone parts of the body.  Stretching your back regularly helps to keep your muscles flexible and supple.  The types of stretches you choose, however, can make the difference between improving back health and exacerbating back pain.

One of the most classic and common stretches, the toe-touch, may actually be one stretch you should be avoiding.  In this particular movement the lower back is forcibly stretched, stressing the vertebrae and discs, and you can actually strain the back and the hamstrings.  It may compress the discs in your spinal column and actually push them toward the nerve canal.

To improve this stretch, you can try to focus on rolling the spine forward and back up instead of staying completely rounded throughout the movement, to ensure the vertebrae articulate in a graceful, flowing manner.  Avoid flattening the back or forcing the fingertips towards the floor, to a point that exceeds a reasonable and pain-free range of motion.

Consider an alternate stretch altogether, such as a back rotation stretch.  This is a gentle, but effective movement where lower back muscles are gently and gradually elongated.  The abdominal muscles support the back throughout the movement, the oblique muscles are activated and strengthened and the hamstrings are disengaged.

To perform this stretch:

  1. Sit on the floor or a table with your back straight, knees bent, and feet resting on your heels.  Place your hands behind your head with your elbows pulled back gently.
  2. Contract your abdominals and rotate left as far as you can go.  Do this 4 or 5 times until you feel loosened up.  When you’re ready, rotate again and then flex your body forward, leaning your elbow towards the surface you’re sitting on.  Avoid pulling on your head with your hands.
  3. Hold for 1-2 seconds, and then return to an upright position.  Work one side at a time, doing 10 repetitions on the left, then 10 on the right.

Preform this stretch frequently to experience the positive weight loss and wellness related benefits.

What’s your favorite stretch that you learned during your experience with weight loss program and wellness program? If you haven’t made it to Hilton Head Health just yet, what are some of your favorite stretches to do on your own?