Be Flexible Stay "Back" Strong

Back pain can effect anyone. There are many things that can cause back pain. You will read studies that will put the blame on bad posture, stress and lack of exercise. As a runner, you not only put a lot of stress on those legs but your back as well and the key to taking care of your back is core training. For me, that is the first sign that my core is not as strong as it needs to be, my lower back starts to give me twitches of pain and stretching is not enough to help ease the pain.

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To keep your back strong you can incorporated simple abdominal and back exercises to your daily workout. After each cardio workout, simple sit-ups or planks can be done.  First, lay on your back, make sure you draw that belly button towards your spin, brace your abs and come up as far as you can. Try not to hold your head or neck in your hands, your arms can lay along your side, feet planted on the ground. You can start with a set of 12, 3 times. If you do not like sit ups, you can do a plank exercise. Again, pull your tummy in, rest on your forearms and either use your knees or toes for balance. Here you want to hold it for one minute.

Once you have completed your situps, you can position yourself on all fours (hands and knees).

Make sure your back is flat and your tummy is drawn in toward your spine. Using the opposite arm and opposite leg, bring them out at the same time, balancing yourself and hold for a count of 10. Then, repeat on using the other arm and leg. You can do 2 sets of 10 holding each position for 10 seconds. These are very simple exercises that can be done after your run each day to build your core and prevent back pain.

Also, make sure before each run or workout you do dynamic stretching and after static stretching similar to the diagram below. If you would like to learn more about these stretches and exercises, go to http://www.youtube.com/seenicrun for all the latest videos and exercises to strengthen your core!

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Remember, review this information with your doctor or physical therapist for a more thorough explanation. Each person is different and there are various types of back pain, make sure you see a doctor or specialist!

Nicol A Hodges

Nicol A. Hodges aka "Nic" is fitness professional (NASM, CPT/PES) and product designer living in San Diego, CA. Nicol's athletic background started in her hometown of St. Charles, MO where she earned her 400m state ranking 3 years in a row. Later, at the University of MO, Columbia she earned 8-Big 12 Track and Field titles and a championship title. Nicol currently continues her love for running by competing in local and national running events.