Take 5 minutes to do your 5-a-day back exercises

Back issues are extremely common. Research reveals that 4 in 5 adults (that’s 80%) experience the discomfort and distress of back pain at some point in their lifetime. Inactivity can make the muscles tighten up and the joints become stiff, so rest isn't always the best option. That’s why exercise is commonly advised as one of the best ways to help prevent and manage most back pain.

5 back exercises you can do every day

You may like to do these exercises on a mat to cushion yourself.

1. Cat-cow stretch

  • Find an all-fours position with hands below shoulders and knees under hips
  • Exhale as you tilt your pelvis under and curl your back up into an arched position
  • On the inhale, tilt your pelvis out, let your belly drop and lift your head up
  • Repeat 10 times.

2. Knee to chest

  • Lying down, tuck one knee in towards your chest, then bring your other knee into your chest
  • Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and release
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

3. Pelvic tilt

  • Lying down with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, inhale to tilt the pelvis forwards, forming a tunnel of light under your back
  • Exhale and tilt the pelvis backwards, so your spine is flat against the floor
  • Repeat 10 times.

4. Bridge

  • In the same starting position, lift your tailbone and let the rest of your spine follow, until your chest and thighs form a straight line
  • Hold the bridge for a few seconds and then slowly, joint by joint, return your spine to the floor
  • Repeat 5 times.

5. Knee rolling

  • Keep your knees and feet together as you roll your knees from side to side
  • Enjoy the feeling of stretching out the sides of your body
  • Continue this movement for a minute.

Everyday Tips

  • Keep moving: avoid sitting for long periods by getting up and going for a walk every 30 minutes – even a gentle five-minute stroll can work wonders
  • Maintain good posture: be aware of maintaining a good posture if you are spending long periods at your computer
  • If you suffer from back pain caused or made worse by being at work: talk to your employer or HR department as they may be able to help you come up with adaptations to your work environment, patterns and activities in order to help you better manage your back pain
  • Drink plenty of water each day: to help flush out any toxins from your body
  • Eat lots of fruits and veg: good nutrition can help you maintain a healthy spine.

If your back pain persists

Don’t suffer in silence. Contact your GP or arrange an appointment with one our physiotherapists.

Last updated Wednesday 23 November 2022

First published on Thursday 12 November 2020