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Back Awareness Week: Protect and Care for your Back With These Five Exercises

Dominic Bowser, senior personal trainer at Sound Mind and Body gym in Benton, is helping us maintain strong and healthy backs for BackCare Awareness Week

BackCare Awareness Week was created to bring attention to the stress and strain we can unknowingly be putting on our backs. In order to protect them and stay safe, healthy and active, exercise and mobility is key. This year’s theme is Back Pain in Nursing – try these five exercises at your desk, your nurse’s station, or while sat on the sofa to keep back pain at bay.

Warm Up

Slouch and extend

Sit tall in your chair, with your feet on the ground. Let everything above your hips slouch. Once slouched, place a finger gently below your sternum (the soft bit just below where your ribs join in the centre of your chest). Lift your ribs up as high as possible and hold. Repeat three times.

Upper body rotation

Sit tall in your chair, with your feet on the ground. Place your right hand on your left shoulder and left hand on your right shoulder. Keeping your hips still, rotate as far as you can without pain to the left and then to the right. Repeat three times. Each time you rotate notice a focal point in the room. The next time you rotate to that side, see if you can notice a point further around.

Exercises

Quad/hamstring exercise 

Sit tall in your chair and tighten the top of your thighs as if to push the chair backwards. Relax then tighten the back of your thighs as if to pull your heels back and the chair forwards. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

Calf and shin exercise

Sit tall in your chair. Raise your heels as far off the floor as possible. Pause. Lower your heels slowly to the floor. Keeping your heels on the floor raise the front of your foot as high as possible. Pause. Lower the front of your foot to the floor. Repeat in each direction 10 times.

Tricep dips

Using a sturdy chair with no wheels, place your hands on the edge of the chair either side of your thighs. Shuffle forwards so your bum is off the chair. With your elbows pointing backwards, slowly lower your bum towards the floor. Stop when you feel you’ve gone far enough and raise back up. Repeat ten times. You can make this harder by straightening your legs out as far as possible, so you are resting on your heels, while making sure your torso remains vertical.

Ab hold

Using a sturdy chair with no wheels or arms, turn the chair so the backrest is to the side. Sit sideways, slouch and lean back. As you lean back raise your knees and feet until they touch the underside of your desk. Continue to lean back, still slouched, until you feel it in your abs. It’s important to maintain the slouched position to protect your back. If your back starts to hurt, stop immediately, reset, and try again. If it still hurts don’t do any more reps. Repeat 10 times.

 Ab twist

Once you’ve mastered the ab hold, try taking the hold out to the maximum position, then doing a small ab crunch and twist either side. Repeat 10 times. 

For more information visit BackCare.

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