Neck and Back Stretches for Beginners

by Pat Lowe

There are virtually hundreds of different stretching routines for your neck and back that are simple to do and produce results. These basic techniques are perfect for those who are new to stretching.

Beginner Back Stretch

The basic back stretch is one of the most effective stretches you can do to benefit your lumbar region. Follow these directions: Stand upright, contract your abdominal muscles while bending forward at your hips, and lower your hands to the floor. Then relax your head down and push with your fingertips while you feel the stretch in your back. Hold this pose for 30 seconds; if you find this too difficult, build up slowly to this length of time.

Wide Back and Shoulder Stretch

This stretch should directly follow the basic back stretch. With your hands remaining on the floor, set your feet wide apart and position your arms inside your legs. Lift your hands off the floor and wrap your arms around the back of the calves, then grasp your ankles. Gently pull with your hands, which will open up your shoulders and stretch your upper back. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.

Shoulder Rolls

Shoulder rolls are the easiest stretches around. Either sitting or standing upright, rotate your shoulders upwards, backwards, down then forward. Start with small circles and work up to a larger movement. Do 10 circles in the backwards direction, then reverse direction and do 10 repetitions going forward.

Don’t forget that a stitch in time saves nine; take care that you avoid movements and actions that will cause back and neck pain. Good posture is critical. Be extra cautious when you’re lifting a heavy item. You need to bend down, then use your legs instead of your back to carry the load when you lift.

How you sleep at night also impacts the discomfort you feel in your neck and back. You need a supportive mattress and pillow, and make sure the room temperature is comfortable so you’re not tossing and turning all night long. Stretching lightly just before you go to bed will lead to relaxed muscles and a peaceful sleep.

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