Work THIS muscle & look slim…instantly!

There’s one area of the body that most of us overlook, and working it can can make you look slim almost instantly. Naturally, we focus on toning the muscles we can see — our abs, legs, arms, chest, and shoulders. People don’t go around saying, “Hey! You’ve got a terrific back!” But in reality, no muscle group deserves more attention.

Think of your body as a house. Long before you start decorating, you’ve got to build a strong foundation; otherwise the structure will cave in. The foundation for your body’s strength comes from your abdominal and lower back muscles. If they’re weak, your body isn’t going to hold up. At that point, the decorating — sculpted arms and shoulders, for instance, won’t matter.

We’ve probably all said at one time, “Oh, my achy back!” Since the spine is composed of 33 vertebra, starting from the base of the neck going down to your pelvis, and is responsible for supporting your body in its upright position, it’s important to pay attention whenever you have excessive tension or pain in any part of your spine. Here are 3 of the most common types of back pain and how to ease them:

1. Neck pain

What is it?
Neck pain refers to any pain in the area from the base of skull through your shoulders, upper back and arms. It can include feelings of stiffness, tightness or sharp pain.

How can you ease it?
A simple movement to release tension in the neck and shoulders is to drop your head and chin toward your chest, and allow gravity to stretch out your neck. Then, drop your ear to your shoulder…switch sides. Also, simple movements like nodding your head up and down,  yes, “we do want relief from back pain” and “no, we don’t want tension.”

Another exercise to ease neck pain is to imagine somebody is pulling you up through the crown of your head. That will help you lengthen the neck and release tension throughout the day.

2. Upper and middle back pain

What is it?
Upper and middle back pain refers to the section of vertebrae, knows as your “thoracic spine.” This runs from neck through the ribcage, an area that can become stressed when you’re slumping at your desk, or standing with a slouched motion.

How can you ease it?
When you’re standing, try to keep your back as straight as possible, and balance your weight evenly on both feet. When you’re sitting, keep your shoulders rolled back. Maintain this position when you’re driving or working at the computer.

3. Lower back pain

What is it?
Lower back pain is the most common place to experience back pain, in fact, 8/10 people are effected by it. It’s the area from the rib cage to the top of the legs. The back is a delicate area of muscles, nerves and joints, and it’s working hard to support your weight. If you have excess weight in your belly, it puts stress on the back.

How can you ease it?
A good lower-back strengthening move is the “Superman.” While you’re sitting down….press yourself forward with your neck long, and extend your arms out as if you’re flying, bring them to your shoulder, and repeat.

As you probably already know, back pain is different for every person. So take the time to learn about your body and your movement patterns so you can maintain good back health throughout your life. Here’s to your health!

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