5 Easy stretches for a healthy back

We all know how sometimes, after a long day, all the muscles in the body seem to have shrunk to 1 cm short… How after some hours driving or being at the desk all day, we eventually move and realise that our back, neck, shoulders and low back feel all tight and achy? We have all been there! Sometimes it’s when we wake up in the morning that our back could do with a bit of stretch to ease into the day. 
Here are five easy stretches to bring it back alive! If you stick with them on a daily basis, you will start notice your mobility improving – it might take some time, be gentle with your body!

1)  Back extension
– Lie on your stomach, prop yourself up on your forearms, hands comfortably wide.
– Pull the navel away from the floor and lift your chest and your heart up, while sliding your shoulder blades down. This will create space at the front of the chest, where your collar bones are.
Be careful not to compress the low back to lift the upper back higher. Start with a smaller lift.
– Slide your hands slightly in front of you- eventually, you will be able to straighten the arms without the lower back sinking.
Move in and out the stretch 10 times, then hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.

2) Wag tail
– Start in box position (hands and knees) 
– Lift the feet off the floor and move them from side to side. Allow the hips to follow the movement, but keep the back straight.

10 repetitions will mobilise and stretch your low back, specially on the sides.

3) Side bend child’s pose
– Start in child’s pose with the arms straight in front of you. If your knees or hips aren’t happy about the deep anlge of a child’s pose, start in box position and lower the bottom as low as it feels comfortable.
– Move the arms to one side – start by keeping the hips square, then gently start dropping the hips in the direction opposite to the arms (without sitting, though!).

Move in and out the stretch 10 times (on the same side) and then hold for 30/60seconds. Change side.

4) Torso rotation
– Start in box position on your forearms. Move the right forearm towards the centre of your torso and place the left hand on the small of your back, left elbow pointing up.
– Rotate the torso to the left elbow, opening it to the side. Press the right forearm on the floor to keep the rest of the body stable.

Move in and out the stretch 10 times (on the same side) and then hold for 30/60seconds. Change side.

5) Roll down
– Stand tall – if you can, lie your back against a wall with your heels a couple of inches away- with your arms raised in line with your eyes.
– Pull the stomach in, ground the weight in the centre of the feet, lower the chin to the chest and start rolling the spine down as if you were peeling it off a wall. The arms reach forward and away. Starts from the top and slowly try to move sequentially through the mid and the lower back.
– Soften the knees if you need it. Imagine you are diving off the hips.
– Once you get to the bottom of your movement, try to hold the back of your leg and reach the back of the rib cage up.
– Keeping the arms and head heavy, start rebuilding the spine straight, trying to articulate from the bottom up. The head will be the last thing coming up.  

Let me know how you get on!

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