Back Exercises on Land
There are a lot of exercises that you can do in the water to improve muscle strength and flexibility and improve your back. There are also a lot of back exercises that you can do on land to build up the muscles that protect and move the spine. Despite all the benefits of exercising in water, it may not always be timely or practical to be able to get away from the office or home long enough to get a full exercise program in every day. Luckily, there are a lot of exercises that you can do on the floor of your home, or outside on the grass, that don't require any special pieces of gym equipment. Also, while the low impact environment of water may be beneficial for certain people vulnerable to injury while exercising, there are some benefits to land based exercises that wouldn't be available in the water. For example, weight-bearing exercise (exercise in which the weight of the body is borne by the large bones of the arms and legs) done against the gravity of land help strengthen the bones and protect against osteoporosis, a condition where the bones lose density and become prone to fracture.
Below are some exercises that can strengthen the muscles that move and protect the back and neck. Before doing any of these exercises, consult with the doctor involved with your back treatment to confirm that these exercises are appropriate to your condition. A physical therapist may also recommend these same exercises, or suggest additional ones according to your specific condition.
Pelvic Tilts: Lie on your back with your hands by your side, your feet together, and your knees on the floor. Tighten your buttocks and roll your pelvis up to flatten your back against the floor. Hold this position for 15-20 seconds, then relax and repeat for several repetitions.
Crunches: In this exercise, you will lie flat on your back with your hands by your side and your knees up and your feet together, with the soles on the floor. Next, keeping your feet and legs in the same position, slowly sit up and reach for your knees, raising your head and shoulders off the floor. Then slowly lower yourself down to the relaxed position. Repeat several repetitions of this exercise. Continue regular breathing throughout the whole exercise.
Double Knee Pull: Lie on your back, with your hands by your side, your arms resting beside you, your knees up, and your bottom of your feet against the ground. Bring both knees up, and then hold them with your hands just below the knee. Pull your knees close to your chest until you begin feeling a good stretch in your buttocks, then hold yourself in this stretched position for 10 seconds. Next slowly bring both legs back down into the relaxed position. Relax and repeat.
Angry Cat Stretch: Rotate your body into a crawling position, on your hands and knees, with your back straight and at an angle that is parallel to the floor. Next, arch your back like you would see in an angry cat, until you can feel a good, comfortable stretch in your middle and lower back. Hold this position for at least ten seconds, then relax and repeat.