Hello! I have recently changed the direction of my nursing career and gone from a position where I could be on my feet for the majority of my shift, to now sitting between my desk and meetings for most of my day. I try to move around every hour and take advantage of my long lunch break by going for walks and enjoying downtown! Our bodies are not meant to be still for long periods of time and many people feel these negative effects as low back discomforts and sometimes injuries. I have created a core routine for those of us who sit for the majority of our work day. This core stabilizing and strengthening routine can be added to any cardio and/or strength workout you might already do, or you can do it on its own. In the morning before work, or in the evening after a long day. Please make sure to take good care of your core. A strong core will help prevent and rehabilitate low back injuries.
Daily Core Stabilizer Routine
cat/cow spinal flexibility - on all 4's. Inhale as your curve your back down, looking up at the ceiling. Exhale as you "crunch" your hips and chin towards your abdomen and chest, rounding your back. - repeat with breath x 15 reps.
kneeling "supermans" - on all 4's. Keeping your hips level, extend one arm straight ahead with opposite leg extended behind you. Keep core engaged. Return to starting position. - repeat other side. - continue alternating x 10 reps.
transverse abdominal (TVA) activations - supine with knees bent and feet resting flat on floor/mat. Engage core by tucking belly button towards spine and flatten low back into the mat. Release. - repeat x 15 reps.
front plank - from elbows and toes. Hold plank by keeping straight body and engaging through the core. - start with 15 seconds and work your way up to 30s hold.
side plank - from elbow and side of foot. Make sure joints are "stacked" (elbow under shoulder and feet stacked). Engage core and hold body in straight line. Switch sides. - hold 15 seconds. - repeat other side baby cobra - lie on front side with hands under shoulders. Engage core. Gently lift chest off floor/mat, using low back. Make sure feet/legs stay on mat. - breathe for 3-4 seconds. - lower slowly. - repeat x 10 reps.
Roll like a ball - to loosen back before stretching. Lie on back and tuck legs into chest. Roll up and down spine a few times.
downward dog - start on all fours. Lift seat and press heels down to floor with arms stretched in front. Upside down "V". Walk legs back and forth. - hold for 10-15 seconds
pigeon pose - from downward dog, bend one knee and place it behind the wrist on the same side. Lower down to floor. Opposite leg should be straight behind. Lower upper body over bent knee until feel good stretch. - hold 15 seconds. - return back to downward dog, switch sides and repeat.
kneeling hip flexor stretch - kneeling lunge, making sure front leg knee is over ankle (not passing over top of toes). Allow hips to drop down until stretch in front of hip felt. May need to extend back leg farther for deep stretch. - hold 15 seconds. - repeat other side.