Back Healthy Exercises for Seniors

Chronic back pain is one of the most common complaints senior citizens have, and many choose to see a chiropractor to manage their pain. While a chiropractor can provide spinal adjustments and help you feel better inside the office, the work your chiropractor does will do little to help you in the long run if you practice bad back health habits in between visits. Most chiropractors recommend that you engage in exercise in between appointments to keep your spine aligned and to strengthen your muscles. These back exercises are targeted specifically to seniors and will keep you feeling great until your next trip to the chiropractor.

Older People Doing Back Stretching

There are a variety of back stretches that should be done daily to prevent injury when lifting or moving something heavy.

Seated Row – Using a resistance band, sit up straight in a chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Grab the handles of the resistance band and pull back with your elbows, drawing your shoulders in toward your spine. Pull back until your wrists reach your body and then release. Repeat for 2 sets of 10 to start out, gradually increasing the number of repetitions as you get stronger. This exercise will help strengthen the muscles in your upper back and shoulders. Make sure you maintain good posture for the duration of the exercise.

Lower Back Stretch – The lower region of the back is usually the area that causes most seniors the largest grievances, and this exercise will help your lumbar muscles stay in top shape. Sit on the edge of a chair and keep your feet flat on the floor. Bend forward slightly, keeping your back straight and your hands on your legs and lean until you can feel the muscles stretch. Hold for 15-20 seconds, then release.

Knee-to-Chest Stretch – If you have a lot of tension in your lower back, this exercise will help you release it. Lie down on the floor with your feet flat on the ground and your knees up. Clasp both of your hands behind your left knee and gently stretch it back toward your chest until you feel the stretch. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and release. Repeat the exercise with your right leg.

Spinal Twist – Sit in a chair, facing forward, and place your hand firmly on the chair arm rests. Keep your back straight, and use your arms to twist your torso to the right. Hold in place for five to ten seconds, then release. Start again, keeping your back straight, but this time use your arms to twist your torso to the left. Hold in place for five to ten seconds and release. Repeat for five repetitions on each side.

Upper Back Stretch – Sit in a chair and hold your hands behind you with your palms facing away from you. Lower your head so your chin touches your chest. Roll your upper back gently. You should feel the muscles in your neck, shoulders and upper back stretch.

Shoulder Shrugs – Loosen up sore shoulders with this easy exercise. Sit in a chair and drop your arms down to your sides. Sit up straight and stretch your shoulder back and up toward your ears. Squeeze the muscles as hard as you can and hold for several seconds, then release. Repeat for ten reps.

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