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Try these 3 simple stretches to ease an aching back

by Jenna Wolfe /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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Since 80 percent of all adults will experience back pain at some point in their lives, the odds aren't really in your favor. If you often wake up with an achy back, here's my suggestion: First, try a little mild cardio to warm up, such as power walking (make sure your muscles are warmed up before you begin!). Then, follow with these simple stretches.

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Knee hug

Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Using both hands, pull up one knee towards your chest while keeping the other foot on the floor. Bring the leg back to starting position and repeat with the other leg. Now, perform the same stretch while bringing both knees to your chest at the same time. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.

Cat & cow

Start on your hands and knees, hands directly under your shoulders with fingers facing forward. Begin with the cow pose: Inhale as you drop your belly towards the floor; lift your chin and chest and look up toward the ceiling. Think of this move as your tailbone and the top of your spine coming together to form a bowl shape (but do not force any movements past what is comfortable — this is simply to warm you up). Slowly transition into the cat pose: As you exhale, draw your belly to your spine and round your back up toward the ceiling, just like a cat arching its back. Bring your head down, but do not force your chin towards your chest. Repeat five to 10 times, then move into Child’s Pose to finish.

Child’s Pose

This yoga-inspired stretch feels great. It relaxes and stretches back muscles, and it’s simple, too. Kneel on a yoga mat, then sit back so that you’re resting on your heels. Gently bend forward with arms reaching out in front of you, palms down on the ground, until your head reaches toward the floor. (If you’re less flexible, fold your arms to support your head). Hold for five to 10 breaths.

You can do these every day. Try them tonight!

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