Our core has more to do with our overall health than many might think. During this busy holiday, remembering some self-care for the core will help decrease back pain and build greater stability. Here are some active isolated stretches for your core.
Begin in a lunge stretch with your hip stacked over your knee. With your core engaged and your posture erect, begin to lunge forward. When you reach the end point of this stretch, hold for 2 seconds. Release. Repeat.
Begin by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and feet apart. Bring your chin to your chest and round the upper back as you move downward into the stretch. Think about trying to touch your nose to your belly button. You can assist this stretch by gently grasping the lower legs and pulling yourself farther. Hold for 2 seconds, release, then repeat.
Lie face-down on the floor. Place your forehead on your crisscrossed arms. Lift your chest away from the mat. Hold for 2 seconds, release, then repeat.
Spinal Extension Part Deux
Lie face-down on the floor. With your hands placed palm-down under the shoulders, use your back muscles to move into what looks like a cobra pose in yoga. At the end range of the stretch, use your arms to push a little farther and hold for 2 seconds. Release. Repeat.
Your 30-Pound Head
Wonder why your back hurts? It could be forward-head posture. For every inch of forward-head posture, the weight of the head on the spine increases by 10 pounds. A normal 12-pound head gains 20 pounds when it sits forward on the spine 2 inches. Be body aware, pull your head back over your spine, and focus on alignment.
How flexible you are has more to do with genetics than how much you stretch. Some people can stretch every day and never be able to do the splits, while hypermobile people have to be careful not to overstretch already loose ligaments. Stretch with care.