Healthy Back Through Stretching
Appreciating the consequence of stretching the back muscles begins with grasping and understanding of how these important muscles correlate to the overall function of the body. Muscles of the back shore up the spine while the back maintains the overall strength and control of the whole body. The muscles in front of the spine, known as flexors, assist the back to flex forward. The muscles in the back of the spine, known as extensors, help the body to remain upright. On the side are oblique muscles that help the back to rotate and help maintain posture. The reason to stretch back muscles is to help keep the body’s full range of motion while at the same time maintain a back that works at its best condition. Back stretches can easily be done throughout the day, between long stints at the desk or after standing for a long time on the job.
Because your back is so important to maintaining and overall healthy back and body, you must stretch the back as frequently as you can. Most athletes desire to be boundless in their movements. Therefore, the more you stretch your back the more freedom you have to move your body. Performing uncomplicated shoulder lifts to your ears as you keep your body comfortable is an excellent back stretch. You can equally roll your shoulders forwards and next backwards as a very effective back stretching technique.
Every time you rise from a sedentary position remember to take a moment and perform a pleasantly extended stretch of your back. Simply stand relaxed, place your feet shoulder-length apart and slowly reach your arms up above your head. Gradually stretch towards the ceiling or sky with your fingers reaching straight up while breathing normal and maintain the stretch for at least 15 seconds. Take in the feeling of the lower back to the upper back easing up from being sedentary for such a long time. For the best results, try to perform this simple back stretch three times when you rise from sitting. Notice how much more at ease your body feels from doing the stretch because your blood flows so much better throughout your body. When the blood flows better you feel even more alert and relaxed because staying sedentary for a long time slows down the flow of blood in the body.
Another great back stretch to do after being sedentary for such a long time is stretching your side muscles. Simply stand from your spot (desk, car or couch) place your arms near your sides with your feet shoulder-lengths apart. Now, gradually move the side of the body downwards, like bending the trunk slowly to the left while sliding the left hand down the length of the thigh and slowly reach your right arm up and over the head. Breathe normal and relax as you notice the stretch and count to ten. Return to the starting position and repeat the same back stretch on the right side. Go back and forth nine continuous times – each time you will feel more flexible and relaxed.
The last back stretch is very popular during most workout classes in gyms. Some call it the cat stretch because that is what you look like when you do the stretch. Also, the feline species often do this stretch throughout the day — who said a cat wasn’t smart. Start by shaping your body as if a table on your hands and knees, then pull in your stomach muscles and curve the spine toward the ceiling. Breathe normally while you hold the stretch for 15 seconds. You can continue repeating the stretch nine more times while staying in the same table like pose. An alternative stretch to this position is slowly allowing the back behind the stomach to drop down toward the floor with the buttocks pointed sharply to the ceiling. Breathe normally and hold for 15 seconds and perform the stretch nine more times.