Stretching and exercises

Stretching and exercises

If you feel pain at any time when doing exercise or stretches STOP - do not continue with that exercise or stretch. As a general rule, if you are in pain, you should only stretch to the threshold just below the point where you feel pain. It is important also to warm up before stretching.

The exercises and stretches I do daily. Most of these excercises are designed to improve overall flexibility as well as strengthen the tummy muscles. The overall result should help people with lower back problems as well as lower back pain and sciatica.

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Leg Rolls

Keep on your back and swing your knees to the left and then to the right. Pull your tummy muscles in and up before starting this. Breathe out on the downward motion hold the position, and then breathe in on the upward movement.

Repeat this twenty times.

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Straight leg stretches - hamstring stretch

Lie down on the floor on your back. Keep one leg flat on the floor. Raise the other leg and grasp a hold of your hamstring muscle. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds.

It is extremely important when stretching to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds - I cannot emphasise this enough.

Repeat the stretch with the other leg.

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Bent leg stretches

Keep on your back.

Bend one knee and pull it towards your chest.

Hold for 30 seconds.

Repeat with the other leg.

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Glutenal squeezes combined with pelvic tilt

Keep on your back, with your knees bent.

Raise your bottom off the floor by a few centimetres, at the same time squeeze your buttocks together.

Hold the squeeze for a few seconds and release. Lower your bottom to the floor.

Repeat this 50 times building up to 100

Arm swings

Keep on your back, with your knees bent. Pull in your stomach muscles. Swing one arm over your head as if you were doing back stroke - then the other arm.

Back leg Kicks

Roll over on your tummy and bend one leg trying to touch your buttock with your heel. Repeat with the opposite leg. Do this twenty times. Repeat the entire process squeezing your glutenal muscles as you do it. This is not so much a stretch as a flexibility exercise.

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Death Pose

Continue lying on your stomach with both arms at your side head facing left. Hold for 30 seconds lie to other side.

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Cobra Pose

Continue lying on your stomach. Raise yourself up so that you are resting on your forearms (with your elbows on the floor. Hold this stretch for thirty seconds.

Be careful not to arch your back too much, particularly if you are suffering from lower back pain.

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Neck and back twist

Stand in scrum position with your hands on your knees - tilt your head upwards and to the side, as if trying to look over your shoulder.

Repeat this tilting your head to the other side.

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Ti Chi body twist and arm swing

Stand with your feet apart facing forwards holding your arms out in front of you.

Gently swing round on your axis to the left then back to the central position then to the right.

Do not overstretch.

Over arm flexi

Stand upright with your legs apart.

Pull in your stomach muscles and slowly rotate one arm and then the other - as if doing the back stroke.

Do twenty arm rotations - keep the tummy muscles pulled in and upwards for the duration of the exercise.

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Overhead Stretch

With both legs shoulder width apart raise your right arm up and over your head while you bend to the left.

Slide your left arm down your leg past your knee if possible while you lean over to the left.

Repeat the process leaning over to the right with your left arm going over your head and your right arm sliding down your right leg.

Do not overstretch.

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Side arm crunches

Remain in the upright position facing the front.

Pull the stomach muscles in and up.

Keep the right arm by your side.

Raise the left arm to the vertical position.

Bend over to the left while bringing your left arm downwards.

Try to touch your waist or lower with your left elbow - let your left arm automatically