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EXERCISES TO RELIEVE 'WORKING FROM HOME' BACK PAIN
Written by Menswear Style in Health & Fitness on the 14th April 2020 / Exercises to Relieve 'Working From Home' Back Pain
Working from home during the lockdown is tough on all aspects of life, but if you don’t look after yourself, your physical and mental health will start to suffer. One of the biggest physical issues the nation’s workers will be facing right now is back pain. You may be used to specialist office equipment, adjustable computer shelves and chairs with added support. However, the reality of working from home for most is being hunched over a table on a rigid dining room chair for upwards of 8 hours a day. This will take its toll over the lockdown period and could potentially lead to lasting problems.
International fitness expert Jeff Kloepping knows how problematic back pain can be for our bodies over time. He has been helping his clients build preventative measures into their workout to help stop and also treat back pain whilst working from home. Here he shares the most important exercises you should be doing to prevent and relieve back pain.
This bodyweight floor exercise is great for working the lower back as well as the supporting muscles, including abs, thighs and glutes. It’s not just your back muscles that need to be strengthened; you should be working the whole area in order to relieve pressure. The bird-dog is a great move to incorporate into your workout whilst in isolation as it doesn't require a lot of space to do it in. Bear in mind that the bird-dog’s main focus isn’t the movement of your arms and legs, even though that’s what you’re doing. The main focus of the exercise is to maintain a solid core while moving your limbs. As soon as most people move their limbs when performing this exercise, it pulls their back into extension. You want to avoid this pull, that’s what’s working your core. By keeping your core engaged throughout the movement you’re essentially fighting that pull into extension. You only want to raise your limbs as high as you can while performing the movement with a flat back.
Begin on your hands and knees, ensuring your hands are directly underneath your shoulders. Begin by raising your left hand and opposite leg to a 40-degree angle. This should create a straight line. This engages all of the muscles along the line but it's vital to keep your hips square to keep everything aligned. After holding for a few seconds, reverse the sides. For a more intense workout, feel free to add hand weights.
This exercise is another whole-body workout that gets into the deep lower back muscles. It’s great for engaging core muscles that you wouldn’t usually feel, as well as working down into the legs. This requires balance and stability but is very effective to execute and will improve your posture and the way you hold yourself; a vital part of maintaining back health.
Start by laying on your side with your legs out to the side and your forearm directly underneath your shoulder. Engage your core and raise your hips to hold the position for as long as you can. Aim to do this for 30 seconds to a minute, depending on your ability. Once you slowly lower back down, repeat on the opposite side.
Much like any form of workout, stretching is a key part of maintaining flexibility and motion, as well as loosening tight, fatigued muscles. After sitting at a desk for a while, back muscles can become cramped and painful, this is a great way to consistently relieve aches and ensure the pain doesn’t build up over time.
One of the easiest but most effective stretches to achieve is called the ‘child’s pose’. This yoga-inspired pose works your spine as well as stretching deeper into your glutes. Whilst sitting on your heels, hinge at your hips and reach forward whilst extending your hands as far as they will reach. Breathe deeply into this pose and feel it relieving any tension in your spine.
This is another exercise that uses minimal floor space but has maximum impact. Hip thrusts or floor bridges as they are also known, will engage your core and activate your glutes. Finding exercises that build and stretch your lower back and surrounding muscles are vital for good back health.
Start flat on your back with your knees up and feet planted on the floor. Brace your core and use it to drive your hips upwards. A tip for this exercise is to keep your ribs down when pushing your hips in the air. Many people push their ribs up, which means they are putting their back into extension, which you want to avoid. You need to maintain a stable core and isolate your glutes. If you find it hard to keep your ribs down, just lift your head off the floor slightly while performing the movement.