Back Pain: 3 Keys to Core Strength

I’m a chronic stander, it drives my husband crazy. While I do prefer to stand naturally, there is more to it than that: sitting for long periods of time causes too much discomfort. Read: I had a doctors note that allowed me to leave my 1.5 hour long classes in college early because the max I could sit was 45 minutes.

I was destined to back problems before I was born, my dad has struggled with chronic back pain since before I can remember. So, when I hurt my back at the end of my sophomore year of college I knew it could be long and drawn out, I wasn’t wrong. My junior year was basically a wash, and it was hard on my body and my pride. Don’t get me wrong, that year wasn’t wasted – it taught me a lot about just how much it would take to keep my back healthy. It also taught me a lot about myself, my pitfalls, and my resilience.

But now, almost 10 years later and I am learning every day about the routine it takes to keep everything on track. So here is a look into my weekly routine to keep my core strong and my back healthy.

  1. Yoga (2-3x/week) – If you’ve followed me for any amount of time you know that I am a strong believer in the power of yoga – all types. But I particularly like the strong and slow flows that help you stabilize your body, while strengthening your core. Depending on your pain, you might have to modify and that is okay and really a good thing. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should!
  2. Careful stretching (daily) – Proper stretching is incredibly important for keeping muscles loose and the body flexible. However, depending on where you feel less than your best you have to be careful about overextending. If needed, ask a physical therapist to show you the do’s and don’ts for you.
  3. A core routine (2-3x/week) – here is a look into the core routines that I prioritize throughout the week:
    • Plank – not the like the fad, but true planking for minutes at a time. You can stay on your hands or drop to your elbows, just make sure to keep you core tight and your back level.
    • Plank Jacks – your arms hold a plank, while your feet jump out and in like a jumping jack. I usually do
    • Leg Lifts – This one can get you in trouble if you do not keep your back flat on the ground. You want to keep your core tight and your back flat while you lift your legs from 6″ off the ground to a 90 degree angle.
    • Single Arm/Single Leg Body Weight Dead Lifts – Your right arms slowly goes down while your left leg comes up to a 90 degree angle.

All together now!

3-5 rounds of the following:

  • 30-90 second Plank depending on ability level
  • 20 Plank Jacks
  • 20 Leg Lifts
  • 10/each side Dead Lifts

Do you have any other exercises to add to the list?! If you have any questions about chronic back pain or stability + strength work doesn’t hesitate to push that contact button above!

Happy Weekend Friends!

Jordan

Re-grounding Your Mornings and Enjoying the Early…

There have been 12308203 posts about good morning routines that help get your day off to a great start. BUT so often I hear the excuse that there isn’t enough drive to pull yourself out of bed early enough to set yourself up for success. I dare to say that it’s not so much about forming habits as it is finding the underlying foundation of why mornings can be so tumultuous. Maybe you’ve let the people around us convince you and I that in today’s “busyness” sleeping in and not worrying about the way you start your day is more acceptable than actually enjoying mornings. I hear so many people skipping out on breakfast or drinking 4 cups of coffee before they can even function. But is that really how we were created to live? Is that really thriving? Or have we let the cultural norm become too loud.

Several months ago I dug deep about how I was spending my mornings and why I still felt stressed even though I had exercised. Case in point it had an awful lot to do with cramming as much as possible in as little time as possible so you start the day and using food and coffee as the plug to keep me going. So I did a reset and here are a few things I have found in re-grounding your mornings:

  1. Find something that excites you in a morning routine. One of the things I have found that I enjoy about my mornings is a fresh cup of coffee and a really great book. So instead of snoozing my alarm and dreading putting my feet on the cold floor, I’m excited to dive into the next page of adventure without being to quick paced quite yet.
  2. Then set your alarm earlier. Instead of feeling like I am rushing to get everything crammed in before work I set my alarm 15 minutes earlier so that I can take it slow without being stressed before I ever step out the door.
  3. Get to sleep 1/2 hour earlier. When Jon and I first got married he did not understand why I preferred to be in bed between 8-9. While that doesn’t always happen, when it can I let it because it sets me up to achieve whatever goals I have for the next day or week.
  4. Fuel yourself well. Don’t get up and cram a bunch of white sugar in your face. It might give you a momentary high, but it will make you drag later in the day. Rather grab a piece of fruit, some nut butter and maybe one piece of toast (hold the jam), or if you have time scramble up some eggs. How you fuel yourself before and after you workout matters!
  5. Set goals! Goal setting is part of who I am, but I realize it’s not intuitive for everyone. However, having something to look forward to isn’t going to hurt you becoming consistent. I have long term and short term goals. Long term I having the next full marathon after almost three months. Short term I have an ideal weight I want to be which is why I am incorporating Whole30 in this season

All this to say I love the really practical steps that many other blogs provide. Drink a glass of water, practice gratitude, etc. They are all so helpful and I incorporate these little details almost every day, however, the first step is getting to the foundation of why you feel unmotivated or find it hard to roll out of bed before you can put in place structure. In the past several months most of my mornings are a lot more peaceful and enjoyable because I have reset what they are all about and first and foremost remembering WHO they are all about.

I hope this helps you do just that.