Movement and exercise have a great number of health benefits. A new study this month suggests that forgoing exercise may even be worse for you than smoking and diabetes.
Not only can exercise improve your health and prevent a wide range of health concerns, it is also recommended to treat certain health ailments like depression, diabetes, and heart disease. In 2017, The American College of Physicians also recommended exercise to help treat low back pain as the first line of treatment before resorting to pain medication.
Exercises don’t need to be time consuming in order to make a difference. Here are some quick and easy exercises that you can perform on a daily basis to improve your overall health.
1. Cat and cow stretch to ease stress on your lower back
According to researchers, more than 80 percent of Americans will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. While exercise can help treat low back pain, it can also help prevent back pain too.
In addition to getting adjusted, performing a simple exercise called the cat and cow stretch can help stretch your lower back muscles and increase mobility. To perform, start on your hands and knees and arch your back then let your abdomen lower towards the floor while lifting your chest. Repeat this exercise at least five times.
2. Shoulder blade squeeze for proper posture
In today’s age of cell phones and computers, maintaining good posture can be a difficult habit to keep. However, it can have a huge impact on your overall health. While good posture promotes overall health, poor posture can worsen energy levels, breathing, stress, sleep and even hasten some adverse effects of aging. This is due to the way our tissues are stretched over time, the slow damage that happens to the tissue, and hormonal changes that occur during these positions.
To maintain proper posture, try performing the shoulder blade squeeze on a daily basis. You can perform this exercise sitting or standing. Simply pull your shoulder blades down and together, hold for about five seconds and relax. It is best to repeat this multiple times per day.
3. Chin tuck for proper neck posture
Like low back pain, neck pain is a common ailment among Americans that can be exacerbated by extended periods of time staring at a cell phone or computer. This exercise can help reverse the effects of bad posture by strengthening neck muscles and ensuring proper head and neck alignment.
Perform this exercise with your chin parallel to the ground and your ear in line with your shoulder then slowly pull your chin inward toward your neck and release. You should feel a stretch in your neck muscles.
4. Plank pose to strengthen multiple muscles
The plank position is an effective static exercise that works several muscle groups, including your wrists, arms and abdominals. It also helps to stabilize and strengthen your spine.
To perform this exercise, start in the push-up position, holding your body up with straight arms and hold for about 60 seconds. If this pose is too difficult, you can also try performing the same pose on your elbows.
5. Toe touch to stretch your hamstrings and hips
The toe-touch, while seemingly basic, works on multiple levels. In either a sitting or standing position, try to touch your fingertips to your toes while keeping your legs straight. Hold this stretch anywhere from five to 10 seconds and repeat. This dynamic stretch will stretch both your hamstrings and hips.
You can also adjust the stretch to strengthen your abdominal muscles: starting in the sitting position, extend your legs upward then reach up to touch your toes using your abdominal muscles and hold or repeat.
6. Seated spinal twist to stretch the upper body
One benefit of this exercise is that it can be performed while sitting right at your work desk. This exercise helps open the rib cage and chest while also stretching your shoulders, neck and back. Like most exercises and stretches, it may also help boost blood flow too.
To perform, sit toward the edge of your chair and place your right hand on the back of your chair twisting your upper body to the right with your left hand on your right knee. Hold for a few seconds and switch sides, twisting your upper torso to the left.
Chiropractic physicians recognize these exercises among others as a crucial element in maintaining optimal health. Manipulation, in particular, can provide the relaxation and increased mobility needed for a successful workout. In fact, studies have shown that when exercises are used with manipulation treatments there are improved patient outcomes.
At National University, our chiropractic students are trained in whole health healing. That means treating conditions by not only performing manipulation, but offering nutritional and exercise counseling, physical rehabilitation therapy or supplements including vitamins and natural herbal medicines.
Along with these six exercises, there are many exercises that can easily be performed in just 15 minutes or less on a daily basis. For optimal health, the American Heart Association also recommends adding vigorous aerobic exercise for 25 minutes, 3 days per week to your schedule.
For more exercise tips visit a chiropractic physician in your local area.
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About the Author
Dr. Christopher Arick