By Gregory N. Whyte
Cultural Center of Charlotte County
According to Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases — The Eular Journal (2014), lower back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. According to Cone Health, in the U.S., back disorders account for over 24% of all occupational injuries and illnesses involving days away from work.
It is hardly ever a good thing to perform certain types of forward bending actions or exercises prior to a thorough stretching of the posterior (back) muscles of the legs. A good number of back injuries result from actions performed when these muscles are in an inflexible state. Actions and exercises to be wary of are those that involve a forward bending of the upper body; especially when the upper body is descending centrally to both legs and the legs are kept straight. As a general rule, you should stretch the back muscles of the legs prior to performing forward bending actions.
The seated head-to-knee pose of Fusion One is a great exercise to safely stretch the back muscles of the legs. The exercise targets the leg’s posterior muscles with little stress to the lower back. You perform the exercise by first sitting in a chair. From this seated position, extend one leg to the front. Next, lower the upper body toward the extended leg. At the completion of the movement, hold the position for 30 seconds or longer, while breathing normally. When ready, return the body to its original upright position. Repeat the exercise using the other leg. The exercise may be performed three times on both sides. Note: the extended leg should be positioned a bit to the outside (left or right depending on the leg being used) and the upper body lowered directly toward the extended leg and not to the inside or outside of it.
In addition to stretching the hamstring muscles of the legs, the seated head-to-knee pose also helps to increase the flexibility of the spine and stimulate the organs of the abdominal region.
For additional information on Fusion One, call the Cultural Center of Charlotte County’s Fitness Center, 2280 Aaron St., Port Charlotte, at 941-625-4175 ext. 263. To register for ongoing Fusion One classes, call the Learning Place at 941-625-4175, ext. 223.