Disclaimer from the author: If you are experiencing even slight discomfort in your back, I highly recommend consulting with a practitioner well versed in helping prevent or heal back injuries. Even if you have no pain, it is worth getting an annual orthopedic check-up to identify risk factors such as imbalances or links to your most common physical activity.

Low back pain affects up to 80% of all humans. The cost via lost productivity and decreases in quality of life are huge. If you have ever been sidelined by even a little bit of pain in the back, I am confident you will be willing to invest four minutes a day to help avoid that again.

In a very (very) simplistic analogy of the spine, we have a bunch of jelly donuts we know as discs between the bones that make up our spine. A herniated disc — which is a common occurrence — can be thought of as some jelly getting pushed out of that donut. In order to maintain a good amount of spine health, we should try to keep that jelly nice and centered. Since the majority of us spend time slouched forward due to sitting or texting or bad posture in general, more often than not your go to exercise should be backward bending (see photo, below). But the real magic to keeping your spine healthy is moving as much as we can and in as many shapes and patterns as we can.

1. 30 seconds Bend and Bow

(or Bo, so you think of me 🙂

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2. 30 seconds Hip Side Shift

The spine also gets stuck in only moving forward and backward and becomes prone to injuries when unexpected twists happen. So moving through twists daily is an awesome way to lubricate all your joints in all their ranges of motion.

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3. 60 sec Cobra/Seal

The hips are also very linked to the spine, not just anatomically but also through a lot of research. Many times low back pain and hip pain are often confused, and one is diagnosed as a cause when it is actually the other. It is vital to note just because you point to the pain in one area, this can often be very misleading as to where it originates from.

All this to say the hips and the low back need to be worked together!

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4. 1 min Golfers External Rotation Stretch (30 sec per side)

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Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

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