YOU (South Africa)




SHere’s an easy way to “uncork” your spine without leaving the chair. Sit at your desk and place your feet flat on the floor. Take a bottle of water or a pencil and grip it between your knees. Sit up straight and give yourself a bear hug with your arms. Now turn your spine and shoulders to the left but turn your head and look to the right. Don’t turn your hips – grip that bottle or pencil tight! Then switch sides. Repeat this in a slow rhythmic way 10 or 15 times on each side. SLie on your back in bed or on the floor and place your hands on your rib cage. Bend both knees slightly, keeping your feet on the floor, and touch your knees together and feet together. Let your knees rock to the left and right rhythmical­ly 10 or 15 times on each side. This gets the blood flowing and unlocks the spine while massaging the pelvis.

STry planking for 30 seconds three times a day to strengthen your core muscles. Lie on the floor with your elbows under your shoulders, hands flat on the floor and core engaged. Keeping your forearms and knees on the floor slowly raise your torso up until your body is in a straight line from your knees to your head. Hold for 30 seconds.

SThis simple yoga stretch, known as cat-cow, improves posture, balance and flexes your spine so is ideal for those with back pain. Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists in line with your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips.

As you inhale drop your belly down towards the ground and look forward and up so that your chest goes forward. Your spine forms a U shape. As you exhale, pull your belly up and round your spine pushing it upwards while drawing your pubic bone forward to create an upside-down U.

Do it a few times as you inhale and exhale.

SThe figure-four gluteal stretch will help open your hips and relieve pressure on your lower back. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left knee and keep your right foot flexed. Bring your left knee towards your chest. Reach your right hand through your legs and interlace your fingers just below the crease of your left knee. Using your arms, pull your left knee towards your chest, pausing when you feel a stretch in your right glute and hip. Hold there for at least five breaths (though you can hold the stretch for up to two minutes) then release and repeat on your left side.

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