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Lower Back Low-Impact Stretches
Low-impact stretches and exercises are designed to place little to no stress on your body and its many muscles and joints, including the lower-back region. Tight lower-back muscles can result from long periods of sitting, but they can be loosened and relaxed using a variety of gentle stretches. When you stretch, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that won't restrict movement in your spine. Pull back from any stretch that causes or increases back pain.
Hug a Ball
Your lower-back muscles will respond well to the hug-a-ball stretch, but you first need to find an exercise ball to hug. While seated on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, place the exercise ball between both legs and press your hips downward. Wrap your arms around the ball, allowing it to support your body. Move your legs so your knees are in a straight line with your ankles while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Slowly augment your grip on the ball by increasing the pressure of your hug. Continue hugging tightly for up to 20 seconds and then release. Repeat up to 10 times.
To perform the child’s pose stretch, get on your hands and knees with your forehead to the floor and your arms extended in front of you. Slowly lower your buttocks as if to sit on your heels, sliding your hands along the floor as you sit back. You should feel a gentle stretch along the entire spine. Once your buttocks have settled onto your heels, bring your hands near your feet and relax. Hold the position for 30 seconds or up to several minutes.
The superman stretch is done by lying face down on an exercise mat with your arms and legs in a fully extended position. Slowly raise your chest, legs and arms several inches off the floor. Avoid arching the back. Hold the position for two seconds before lowering your chest, legs and arms to the original position. Repeat up to 10 times, inhaling during the up-phase of the exercise and exhaling as you return to the start position.
Seated Bent-Over Stretch
Stretching from a seated bent-over position effectively lengthens and loosens the lower-back muscles. While seated in an upright position in a chair, hinge forward from your waist and rest the tops of your hands on the floor directly under the seat. Slowly glide your hands further back to increase the stretch. Hold the position for up to 30 seconds, carefully return to the start position and repeat the stretch up to four times.
Lou Martin has been writing professionally since 1992. His work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Times," the "Long Beach Press-Telegram" and the "Deseret Morning News." Martin holds a Bachelor of Science in history and communication.