You are as youthful as your spine is flexible.
Stretching creates a comfortable feeling throughout your bones and just strengthens and tones every ounce of you. Watch Natures way of how trees stretch – branches blowing in the heavy wind builds them girth which makes them more flexible and stronger. Introduce yourself to Yoga or Pilate’s, they are excellent for your body. Know about deep breathing exercises. Have a morning stretch routine before you head out the door. Stretching is key to a youthful body.
Back stretches can relieve the most common cause of back pain, which is tight, tense muscles. Back stretches for the upper back can also improve posture and increase energy levels. They can even decrease neck and jaw pain and relieve tension headaches. Here are some simple stretches for your upper back.
Eagle Arms- Back Stretches
This upper back stretch comes from yoga. You’ll perform it while seated in a chair.
Sit upright with your head held erect above your shoulders. Your feet should be no further apart than the width of your hips, and should be flat on the floor directly below your knees. If your feet don’t rest flat on the floor, place a folded towel or blanket under them.
Extend your arms in front of you.
Cross your left bicep over your right bicep.
Bend your elbows so that your right forearm catches your left elbow.
Twist your right forearm around your left forearm and grab the palm of your left hand with the fingers of your right hand. If you can’t reach that far, grasp your left thumb instead.
Breathe into your upper back for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch on the other side.
Butterfly Wings- Back Stretches
This stretch affects your upper back in much the same way that the cat stretch affects your lower and middle back. You’ll perform this stretch while seated in a chair.
Sit upright in a chair with your head held erect. Place your hands in your lap and rest your feet on the floor.
Bring your hands together in front of your breastbone, as if you were praying. Inhale deeply into your chest.
When you exhale, extend your hands, palms together, in front of you. Drop your head, relax your shoulders and around your upper back.
When you inhale, sweep your arms back as if you were about to perform a swam dive. Lift your face toward the ceiling and arch your upper back.
On your next exhale, straighten your spine and return your hands to the prayer position.
Repeat this stretch five to ten times.
Sun Salutation – Back Stretches
Begin in a standing position and exhale as you sweep the arms up and overhead. Exhale and engage the abs as you tip from the hips and lower into a Forward Bend, with hands on the floor or feet–bend the knees if you need to. Inhale and come up until the back is flat and exhale into forward bend. Inhale and come back up, sweeping the arms overhead until palms touch. Repeat the series 4 to 8 times.
Torso Twists– Back Stretches
Stand with feet wide, knees bent and bring the arms up in front of the chest. Slowly twist the torso to the right, squeezing the abs, then twist to the left repeating for about 15 reps on each side. Keep the movement slow and controlled, only rotating as far as your flexibility will allow.
Spine Twist- Back Stretches
While lying face up on the mat, bend the right leg and place the right foot on the left knee. Slowly twist to the left while taking the right hand straight out on the floor, the left hand gently pressing on the right knee. Relax into the stretch and feel it in your lower back and hips. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Prone Cobra- Back Stretches
This stretch requires no equipment other than a mat. Lie flat on your stomach with your hands directly below your shoulders as though you were preparing to do a pushup. Keep your hips on the mat and slowly extend your arms, pressing your torso off the floor, until you feel a good stretch along the front of your body. Focus on remaining extended out from the hips in order to prevent hyper-extension of the lower back. If you feel any discomfort or pinching sensations, shorten your range of motion or discontinue the stretch. You can also stretch one side at a time by gently rotating your torso, walking one hand a little farther forward than the other and then repeating on the opposite side. This effectively counters the “crouched” position of biking and helps to open up the front of the body, including abdomen and chest.
Neck rolls release tension from the neck, jaw, head and shoulders. If performed daily, neck rolls can largely relieve the symptoms of upper back tension, including pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders, jaw pain and tension headaches. You can perform this stretching exercise while seated upright in a chair.
Sit upright in a chair with your head held erect.
Place your palms on your thighs; relax your shoulders and arms.
Drop your head gently forward, but keep the rest of your spine straight.
Inhale deeply as you roll your head to the left; your left ear should travel toward your left shoulder. Keep both shoulders and arms relaxed. Move slowly and follow your breath. Once your ear is above your shoulder, you can take a few deep breaths.
Exhale as you return your head to the center position; move slowly and with the breath.
Inhale as you roll your head to the other side, keeping your shoulders and arms relaxed and paying attention to the breath.
Repeat this exercise five to ten times.