World Cup is over. It was a good run for sure. France emerged victorious, but Croatia sure was inspiring to the world. Croatia, situated on the Balkan Peninsula is a country with a population (a little over 4 million) that is similar to some of our cities in the United States. It’s small, but mighty. World Cup proved to be another exciting event to watch for soccer fans.
Your spine is crucial for maintaining the health of your entire body - from daily movement to muscle coordination and control, it plays a role in the function of nearly every cell, tissue, and organ in the body.
Here are a few ways to keep it strong and healthy:
Core exercises. Our abdominal muscles work as anchors for our spine, and when they're weak, it can lead to poor posture and misalignment of your back. Weak ab muscles also make protective back muscles work harder, which can trigger chronic lower back pain, and leave you more prone to injury. Keep your core muscles strong by incorporating ab-strengthening moves into your daily workouts.
Yoga is one of the best workouts to help keep your back strong and limber. In fact, some studies have shown that practicing yoga for as little as 8 weeks can help reduce pain, and increase strength and flexibility in the back and spine. Moves like cat-cow, child's pose, and cobra not only help strengthen and stretch your back, but also help promote relaxation, and relieve stress and tension in your back muscles. (Note: some patients who have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis or cervical spine disease should speak to a specialist before attempting to do intense back bends and other types of yoga poses).
Don't forget your hips and hamstrings. Your hip flexors and hamstrings are critically important in stabilizing your lower body, including your back. And when they're tight, they also pull taut the muscles in your lower back, leading to pain, strain, and poor posture. Consider the moves here and here to stretch, strengthen, and target your hip flexors and hamstrings.
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