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8 Exercises, 15 Minutes and One Pain-free Back

Yes – that is all it might take to fix those little aches and pains you get. Simple, light exercises can go a long way in strengthening your muscles and improving flexibility. As we age, these metrics can be vital to our quality of life. 


Before We Exercise - Important Guidelines  

  1. If you have pain that causes significant discomfort and hinders you from doing certain movements, check with your doctor before starting these exercises.

  2. We have picked pain-free exercises that are easy to do at the office, home, park – or even a hotel when you are travelling. All you will need is a clean surface and clothing that is comfortable.

  3. Start small – hold stretches for 10 seconds and repeat 2 to 5 times. Unlike other gym exercises, holding longer is important, not doing faster. A muscle usually reaches maximum elongation after about 4 repetitions.

  4. Avoid ‘popular’ stretches like Standing toe-touches, sit-ups or Leg Lifts because while they are very useful, they can be intense. For a weak back, the stress such exercises place on the ligaments and disks can be harmful.

  5. Warm-up: You need a light, 5 to 10 minutes warm-up.
    1. Turn your neck slowly to the left and then right a few times and then bend the neck forward and then upward.
    2. Rotate your arms fully, in both directions
    3. Twist to your left and right, with legs straight and feet apart
    4. Bring your knees to the chest, one by one, while standing
    5. Walk briskly for a couple of minutes


Exercises for a Better Back


  1. Lower Back Rotation 

    Also known as Knee Rolls, get started with an easy exercise. Lie back, facing the ceiling and bend your knees. Keeping your shoulders on the floor, take both your bent knees to the right and hold for 5 seconds.

    Now slowly get them to the centre and now rotate left. Don’t be tempted to do this faster or try to hit 50 repetitions – aim for longer holding time. 

  2. Bridge Exercise 


    A very effective exercise that relieves lower back pain and helps other areas around the knee and glutes. You are basically trying to make a bridge, with your feet as one end and your head as another.

    Lie and look towards the ceiling. Keep your hands on your sides, palms downward facing and flat on the floor. Lift your hips up, to form the bridge’s arch. Hold for 5 seconds and then come down. Repeat the same steps. 

    1. Cat Stretch 


      This exercise helps move your back up and down, like a cat. Place your hands and knees on the floor, hip-width apart. Your back should be straight like a table. Take a deep breath, pulling your stomach in, lifting it towards the ceiling, to make an arch. Your head should droop a little. Now breathe out and slowly let your belly come to its resting position. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

  3. Superman Exercise 


    This is for your lower back but helps other parts as well. Lie on your stomach on a flat surface. Place your arms in front or your side. Lift your arms and legs simultaneously, as if you are flying like Superman. Hold the position for five seconds and repeat. 

  4. Partial Crunches 


    If you have back, don’t aim straight for full crunches – start with Partial. They will gradually strengthen your back and stomach muscles and soon, you will be able to do full crunches without any pain.

    Lie facing upwards, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put your hands behind your neck, tighten your stomach muscles as you lift your shoulders off the floor slowly breathing out. Hold, slowly lower down and repeat. Make sure your feet and lower back touch the ground at all times. 

  5. Knee to Chest 


    Lie on your back, bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee to the chest, keeping the other foot flat on the floor. Your lower back should naturally press the ground below. Hold, slowly bring your leg down and now repeat with the other leg. Do this for 4 to 5 times initially.


  1. Overhead Arm Stretch 


    Sit on a stool or chair, feet planted on the ground and face forward. Place your right arm on the waist, lift your left arm and extend it above your head, trying to reach the other side. Let the left part of your body also move with the arm, giving it a good stretch, and hold. Now change position and do the same with your other hands. This will benefit the pain in the shoulder and upper back.

  2. Child’s Pose


    There is a muscle in our middle back, the Latissimus Dorsi, which is the widest muscle of our body. Routine activities make it stiff and let us end our exercise schedule to give this muscle the best stretch.

    Kneel down on the floor and slowly bend your torso forward, bringing your forehead down. The resting position of this exercise should be your forehead touching the floor, knees hip-width apart and toes turned inwards. Now stretch your arms forward, pushing your hips backwards. When you feel the maximum stretch, hold. Come back to resting position and repeat.

There is no reason why you should not be able to do these exercises - they are easy, equipment-free and so important for the wellbeing of your spine and back. Do them and stay strong!


Medanta Medical Team
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