I am a new mom and I don't have time to work out right now. My upper back is sore from breast feeding and carrying my daughter around. Could you suggest some strength training and stretching that I can do at home that will ease the pain?
Do the exercises below once daily. The first two exercises require a thera-band ($10 to $15).
Thera-band rows: Loop the thera-band around a stable object at chest level. Hold one end of the band in each hand. Pull band taut. Without arching your lower back, use your upper back muscles to pull your elbows backward so that your shoulder blades come together. Repeat 12 to 15 times.
Thera-band arcs: Holding one end of the band with each hand, stand with your arms by your side and your palms facing backward. The band should be moderately taut. Lift your arms forward and over your head. Pull slightly on the band as you lift. Finish by bringing your arms behind your head. Feel your chest open. Don't arch your lower back. Reverse the motion back to the starting position. Repeat eight times.
Cat and cow: Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and knees under hips. Round your back so you look like a cat that has been frightened. Then arch your lower back and look forward. Go slowly and try to move evenly through each vertebra. Pay attention to working the sections of your spine that feel less willing to move.
If you can't get to the gym, but want to work out at home, try using the thera-band. It is small, easy to store and can simulate many of the machines at the gym. Try standing on it and doing biceps curls. Or attach it to something high and do triceps push-downs.
Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will answer select questions, which could appear in the Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.
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