Don’t just sit there—try these moves to heal and sup­port the mus­cles along your spine.

Martha Stewart Living - - Contents -

Never loved sit- ups? Hal­lelu­jah—you can skip them: The Univer­sity of Water­loo’s Stu­art McGill has found that the re­peated flex­ing mo­tion can cause spinal disks to bulge and press painfully on nerves. He sug­gests these three safe, easy ex­er­cises in­stead. One rep equals one 10- se­cond hold.


Lie on the floor, with one knee bent and the other ex­tended. Nes­tle your palms be­neath your lower back. Brace your abs, then lift your head, neck, and shoul­ders slightly off the ground (about an inch). Do five reps, then three, then one on each side, rest­ing in be­tween.


Lie on your left side, with your left el­bow un­der you and your knees bent. Slowly lift up into a mod­i­fied plank pose. Do up to six reps per side, then four, then two, then one, rest­ing be­tween sides. For a chal­lenge, move into a full side plank with the top foot in front (not stacked) and your arm and legs ex­tended.


Get on all fours. Raise one arm and the op­po­site leg. Do four reps per side, then three, two, and one. For a chal­lenge, draw squares: Move your raised hand and foot away from the mid­line, down to­ward the floor, back to the mid­line, then back up.

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