#HealthBytes: Pilates exercises that are therapeutic for the lower back
Daily habits like poor posture, slouching at your desk, and carrying a heavy shoulder bag are the most common reasons for backaches. While severe pain can be indicative of a strain, sprain, or fracture, mild discomforts and stiffness can be relieved by doing Pilates exercises that target the lower back. Read on for a few moves that target the core and strengthen the back.
Exercise 1: Opposite arm and leg reach
Start in a tabletop position with the hands directly under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. Without moving the torso, extend one arm forward and the opposite leg back. Lift the extended arm and leg off the ground and engage the core. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and come to starting position. Now, repeat the same on the other side.
Exercise 2: The Hundred
Lie on a yoga mat with knees off the mat and legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Lift your head and shoulders off the mat. Now, engage your core, lift the arms a few inches off the floor, and pulse your arms up and down. Your neck and shoulders must be relaxed, and the pressure should be felt in the core. Do 100 pulses!
Exercise 3: The supine spinal twist
Lie on the floor with knees bent and feet on the floor. Stretch the arms on your sides. Squeeze your knees together and bring both knees over to one side—lowering them to the floor as much as you can. Be sure not to lift the shoulder blades. Exhale by engaging ab muscles and bring the knees to the center. Repeat on the other side.
Exercise 4: The hamstring stretch
Lie on the back with both the legs stretched and straight. Lift the left leg while keeping the right leg straight on the floor. Bring the left leg as close to your body as possible without bending the knee. You will feel a stretch in the hamstring. Breathe normally. Now, bring the leg down and repeat it 10 times. Switch sides.