Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Strengthen Your Back Muscles


People often overlook working on their posterior (back) muscles when doing strength training, and focus only on looking good from the front.  But there are several good reasons for you to pay attention to your back muscles as well. Here’s why:

Burn more calories:
as you know, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn. Posterior muscles are a big part of your body, and by building them, you will create twice as much calorie-burning mass, than if you only focused on your front. 

Look leaner:
many women tend to think that building shoulder and back muscles is not necessary, as it will make them look too muscular and bulky.  In reality, if you take the time to work out those muscle groups, you will look leaner overall, as muscle takes up less space than fat. Plus, a nicely sculpted back and shoulders look very sexy and still feminine. 

Prevent injuries:
if you only focus on building muscles on the front of your body, and neglect the posterior ones, you are more likely to suffer injuries, such as pulled muscles or joint pain. Strong muscles support joints and if you’ve built them all over the body, your joints will be less likely to get injured. Also, strengthening your back muscles will lead to better posture.

Have better symmetry:
Building both your front and back muscles will give your body a more symmetrical and well-proportionate appearance. For example, building your calf muscles will create the illusion of thinner thighs, as the legs will be more balanced.
 Examples of Posterior Muscles Exercises


Latissimus dorsi (Lats/upper back)  




Lumbar (Lower back)

Triceps (Back of arms)

 

Gluteus (Buttocks)

Femoral (Hamstrings)

  

Calves (Ankles)




Wednesday, October 8, 2014

10 Yoga Poses for Men

When you’ve never tried yoga, it can be intimidating, especially if you’ve been scoping the jaw-dropping, super bendy, pretzel-like poses your girlfriend practices each morning. 

But relax: It’s actually the most basic postures—not the fancy positions—that provide you with the foundation of flexibility and strength that every man needs. That’s why we’ve put together this collection of poses, which you’ll return to again and again.

Work on them first at home—holding each pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute while keeping your breathing smooth throughout—and you’ll be ready to dive into any fast-moving yoga class.

 

1. Mountain Pose

 






















What it does:  
Simple but effective, mountain pose builds a solid foundation for all other standing poses. It strengthens and returns flexibility to your feet, improves your posture, and works your thighs and core.
How to do it: 
Stand with your big toes touching and heels slightly apart. Balance the weight evenly on your feet and lift up the arches. Engage the thigh muscles slightly to lift up the kneecaps, but avoid locking your knees.

How to get better: 
 With every inhale, imagine lengthening your spine by stretching your head toward the ceiling. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your shoulder blades drawing down your back.

 

2. Tree Pose
























What it does:  
Like other standing balance poses, tree pose will improve your focus while strengthening the muscles in your ankles, calves and thighs. It also stretches the inner thigh and groin muscles on the bent leg.
How to do it: 
Shift your weight onto your right foot, pressing it firmly onto the floor. Bend the leftt leg at the knee and place the sole of the left foot on your inner right thigh. Point the toes toward the floor. 

If this is difficult, you can also place the sole of the foot on the inner calf or ankle (but avoid the knee). Bring your palms together in front of your chest and keep your weight centered over the left foot. 

Press the right knee back to open the groin while keeping your hips parallel to the front of the room. Release the foot and repeat on the other side.
How to get better:  
To improve your balance, keep your attention on the floor a few feet in front of you.

 

3. Standing Forward Bend Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

What it does:   

Standing forward bend can calm your mind, while also stretching the hamstrings and muscles of the spine.

How to do it: 
Start in mountain pose with your hands on your hips, then exhale, tucking your chin slightly toward your chest and bending forward at the hips. (As you fold forward, lengthen the front of your torso to avoid curling the spine.) Relax your head, neck and shoulders and let your arms hang loosely. 

Place your palms or fingertips on the floor beside or slightly in front of your feet. (If you can’t touch the floor, cross your forearms and grab your elbows.) To come out of the pose, bring your hands to your hips and lift up on an inhale. Keep your chin tucked and lengthen the front of your torso as you come back up.
How to get better:  
If your hamstrings are very tight, bend your knees slightly to let the spine stretch toward the floor. Avoid pulling yourself down with your hands—let gravity do the work.

 

4. Warrior I Pose

 






















What it does:  
Warrior I is often encountered during the Sun Salutation sequence. In addition to improving your balance, this pose stretches and strengthens the ankles, calves and thighs. It also stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders and groin.
How to do it:
From mountain pose, step your right foot forward and lift your arms overhead. Turn your left foot 45 to 60 degrees to the left. Bend your right knee until it is over the ankle. Bring the hips parallel to the front of the room. Arch your upper back slightly, lifting your chest up toward the ceiling. Press your palms together, if possible, or keep your hands shoulder width apart with your palms facing each other. Look forward or up at your thumbs. When done, step the right foot back into mountain pose. Repeat on the other side.
How to get better:  
The most challenging part of this pose is lining up the front heel with the arch of the back foot. If you feel unbalanced, widen your stance.

 

5. Downward-Facing Dog Pose


















What it does:  
Downward-facing dog, another pose found in the Sun Salutation sequence, strengthens the legs and arms, while stretching the calves, hamstrings, shoulders, hands and wrists.
How to do it:  
Start on your hands and knees, with your hands just in front of your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. Press your hands firmly onto the floor, with index fingers pointing forward. As you exhale, lift your knees off the floor, keeping the knees slightly bent. Stretch your tailbone toward the ceiling to lengthen your spine. Press your heels down toward the floor and your thighs back to straighten your legs. Keep pressing the base of your index fingers into the floor and lift along your arms from your hands to your shoulders. Draw your shoulder blades against your back and down toward your tailbone. When done, drop your knees to the floor.
How to get better:  
It’s okay to keep the knees slightly bent in this pose—focus more on lengthening your spine. Use your triceps to straighten your arms, but keep the shoulders from moving toward your ears.

 

6. High Lunge Pose

 















What it does: 
Also known as crescent lunge, this is similar to Warrior I, except with the back heel lifted and the feet about hip width apart. In this position, you may find it easier to keep your hips parallel to the front of the room, but your leg muscles will work harder to maintain your balance. High lunge will also strengthen the arms and stretch the muscles of the groin.
How to do it: 
Start in downward-facing dog. As you exhale, step your left foot forward between your hands, keeping your left knee over the ankle and your feet hip-width apart. As you inhale, lift your torso upright and bring your arms out to the side and overhead. If possible, bring your palms together—or keep the hands shoulder width apart with the palms facing each other. Press back through your right heel and lift up through the torso. To come out of the pose, bring your hands to the floor as you exhale and step back to downward-facing dog. Repeat on the other side.
How to get better:  
Don’t lean forward—keep the torso directly over the hips, and think about sinking your hips straight downward while engaging the back thigh to keep the back leg straight. Don’t let the front knee move ahead of the ankle. To give your legs a rest, drop the back knee onto a mat or folded blanket, and focus on the stretch in your groin.

 

7. Boat Pose

 















What it does:  
While often known for its ab-busting potential, boat pose also works the deep hip flexors, as well as the spine. When you add in the arms, even your shoulders will get stronger.
How to do it:  
Start seated with your legs extended in front of you. Press your hands into the floor just behind the hips, pointing your fingers forward. Lean back slightly and lift up through your chest, to keep your back from rounding. As you exhale, bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor until your thighs are at a 45-degree angle from the floor. Straighten your legs slowly. When you feel stable, lift your arms off the floor and bring them out in front of you, parallel to the floor with the palms facing each other. To come out of the pose, lower your legs and arms as you exhale.
How to get better:  
If your hamstrings are tight, keep the knees bent so you can maintain the neutral shape of the spine—similar to as if you were sitting in a chair. For a more intense workout, lift your arms overhead.

 

8. Locust Pose

 
















What it does: 
Locust pose is a great way to slowly strengthen your back and prepare you for more challenging backbends. In addition to working the muscles of the spine, locust strengthens the buttocks and the muscles on the back side of the arms and legs. It will also stretch the chest, shoulders and thighs.
How to do it: 
 Lie on your belly with your forehead on the floor and your hands by your hips, palms facing up. Point your big toes toward each other slightly to roll your thighs inward. As you exhale, lift your head, chest, arms and legs off the floor. Rest your weight on your belly, lower ribs and pelvis. As you inhale, lengthen your spine by stretching your head forward and your legs backward. Stretch back through your fingertips while keeping your arms parallel to the floor. Look down or slightly forward to avoid crunching your neck backward. Lower down on an exhale.
How to get better:  
As you hold the pose, think about lengthening your spine on every inhale and lifting the chest and legs slightly higher on each exhale. If you feel pinching in the back, lower the chest and legs slightly.

 

9. Bridge Pose

 
















What it does:  
A deeper backbend than locust, bridge pose stretches the front side of the body, as well as the spine and the rib cage.

How to do it:  
Lie on your back with your arms by your side. Bend your knees and bring your heels close to your buttocks, with the feet about hip width apart. As you exhale, push your feet and arms into the floor and lift your hips toward the ceiling. Keep your thighs parallel as your lift. Interlace your fingers beneath your pelvis and stretch your arms toward your feet. To come out of the pose, release the hands and lower your hips slowly to the floor on an exhale.

 

10. Reclining Big Toe Pose 


 

 

 









What it does: 
One of the best yoga poses for stretching the hamstrings, it also stretches the hips, groin, and calves. Done properly, it will even strengthen the knees.
How to do it: 
Lie on your back. As you exhale, bend the left knee and pull it toward your chest. Keep the other leg pressed firmly onto the floor while pushing the right heel away from you. Hold a strap in both hands and loop it around the middle of your left foot. As you inhale, straighten your left leg slowly toward the ceiling. Move your hands up the strap until your arms are straight, while pressing your shoulders into the floor. 

Once your left leg is straight, engage the left thigh slightly and pull the foot toward your head to increase the stretch. Stay here for 1 to 3 minutes. Then lower the left leg slowly toward the ground, keeping the right thigh pressed into the floor. Continue until the left leg is a few inches off the floor. Work the foot forward until it is in line with your shoulders. Inhale your leg back to vertical. Lower the leg and repeat on the other side.
How to get better:  
When you extend the leg upwards, press the heel toward the ceiling. Once the leg is straight, engage the thigh slightly and lift up through the ball of the foot.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Yoga Teachers Wish You Would Stop Doing...6 things!!

You might expect yoga instructors not to have a single care in the world, considering the focus in their profession of cultivating some serious zen.
Yes, the ancient practice typically helps us direct our energy inward, but it's not always easy to ignore external distractions and detractors during class. In an effort to help make your favorite yoga studio even more of an oasis, we asked a handful of instructors what they wish we'd all just stop doing. Here are their top requests.

Practicing With Force:
 
There has been a stigma with yoga that you have to force and struggle in order to achieve 'the pose'. 

Practicing with force puts stress into the body and mind.....and doesn't feel that great. If people shift this concept to moving with ease, more can be accomplished with less effort, and it feels great and free. More space opens mentally and physically.

Comparing Yourself To Others:
Stop comparing yourself to others and take poses for your body and ability. I see many students struggle to take poses they are not ready for. 

Students see others take poses and they think they too should be able to do that particular arm balance or more advanced version of a pose. The thing is, students need to remember that they are in a class of varied levels. 

Some people might have been practicing for 10 years longer than you or might just have more flexibility or strength. Recognize this and be okay with it. Then you will grow your practice slow and steady just like intended.

Asking No Questions:
I would love yoga students to start asking me more questions and giving me more feedback before or after class. I love it when people tell me, 'Wow, I loved that sequence!' or 'Can we do inversions?' I always seem to fall back on my favorite ways of teaching, and it really helps to have feedback. I don't want my students to be shy!

Needing All The Answers:
I believe that as yoga practitioners we have to remind ourselves that we don't have to have the answers. The pose doesn't have to 'look perfect'. It's about the feeling you have inside that's the most important.

Yoga ignites my inner childhood spirit. In a way, it helped me to save my life, and it helped me to overcome many demons I was battling inside. I hope that those practicing yoga receive the same joy and life it brings me.


Ignoring Props:
Please use props! Yoga is not about showing off your flexibility or your muscles, and you certainly won't get much out of the practice if you're forcing yourself into poses (which almost always means you're doing them incorrectly). 

The hour you spend on your mat at yoga class isn't about impressing people or being the best......ease yourself into poses and listen to your body. Props can be an amazing tool to help you to get into the correct alignment of a pose and to find your comfortable level in any posture. Using blocks or blankets doesn't make you any less of a yogi.....but trying to one-up your neighbor sure does!


Chasing A Pose:
Stop trying to 'get a pose'. I hear so many students say, 'I want to do a crow pose.' 'I want to do headstand.' Most yoga poses are not something you can just get. The poses go together. For example, as you learn low push and downward dog this will prepare you to take crow pose. As you build balance in standing poses and core strength, this will actually help you find headstand. Yoga is not a practice of stand alone poses but rather a sequence of poses that are designed to work together.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

YIN YOGA

popular style of yoga in the west is an approach that some may have never even heard of. One that in my experience, takes many a few times to really warm up to and even understand. 

Initially called “Daoist” yoga this style of yoga targets the deep connective tissues of the body (vs. the superficial tissues) and the fascia that covers the body; this Daoist yoga is to help regulate the flow of energy in the body. 
Paul Grilley,who brought this concept to the forefront, accredits three main teachers for this concept, one of which is Paulie Zink, who taught him Daoist Yoga. Many teach Yin Yoga today, one of which is Sarah Powers, a student of Paul’s; although she teaches very different than Paul, while taking a Yin Yoga training from him in Chicago, he noted her credit for aligning the name “Yin Yoga” with this style.

Yin Yoga postures are more passive postures, mainly on the floor and the majority of postures equal only about three dozen or so, much less than the more popular yang like practices. 
Yin Yoga is unique in that you are asked to relax in the posture, soften the muscle and move closer to the bone. While yang-like yoga practices are more superficial, Yin offers a much deeper access to the body. It is not uncommon to see postures held for three to five minutes, even 20 minutes at a time. 
 
The time spent in these postures is much like time spent in meditation, and I often talk students through the postures as if they were trying to meditate. While in a Yin class you might notice similar postures to a yang class except they are called something else, on a basic level this is to help the students mind shift form yang to yin, active to passive.
This concept of Yin yoga has been around for thousands of years and some of the older text, such as the Hatha Yoga Pradipika notes only sixteen postures in its text, which is far less than the millions of postures practiced in today’s yoga. In addition, having read much of these text and also cliff notes from various teachers it would appear that these “postures” were more yin like to help promote meditation and long periods of pranayama and sitting. Now I am not claiming to be an ancient text yoga guru, but this is just an observation I have made.

So what exactly is Yin yoga? 
It is a more meditative approach with a physical focus much deeper than Yang like practices. Here the practitioner is trying to access the deeper tissues such as the connective tissue and fascia and many of the postures focus on areas that encompass a joint (hips, sacrum, spine). 
As one ages flexibility in the joints decreases and Yin yoga is a wonderful way to maintain that flexibility, something that for many don’t seem to be too concerned about until they notice it is gone.

This intimate practice of yoga requires students to be ready to get intimate with the self, with feelings, sensations, and emotions, something of which I have noticed can be easy to avoid in a fast paced yoga practice. 
 
Yin yoga is often used in programs that deal with addictions, eating disorders, anxiety and deep pain or trauma.This concept in practice, allowed me a greater mental stability something much of which is a benefit of meditation, basically “learning to sit still.”

Now if you’ve never practiced Yin yoga you might not quite understand how this is so different, but for me Yin has dug deeper than I could have ever gotten otherwise. For my students I often tell them when they are about to try a Yin class that they need to try it three or four times to really make a decision about the practice. Many find immediate benefits like more open hips, a more relaxed body and centered mind. To me, I don’t think one practice is better than the other, but what I would see as beneficial is for the practitioner to see the benefit in each and that there is a need for both. Possibly one benefiting more than the other at times in your life, but a need none-the-less.

Some of the benefits of Yin yoga are:
  • Calming and balancing to the mind and body
  • Regulates energy in the body
  • Increases mobility in the body, especially the joints and hips
  • Lowering of stress levels (no one needs that)
  • Greater stamina
  • Better lubrication and protection of joints
  • More flexibility in joints & connective tissue
  • Release of fascia throughout the body
  • Help with TMJ and migraines
  • Deeper Relaxation
  • A great coping for anxiety and stress
If you take a peek at a Yin-Yang symbol, it is suggesting that no matter what, we should take a “tiny bit” and put it in the heart of its opposite. 
Knowing both practices, and having struggled with a wide variety of eating disorders, addiction, depression and anxiety, I get that too much of something is simply too much. 
 
Yin yoga as taught me to truly be still, to really come face to face with myself, even more than my past practice has; and because of this I am now able to bring what Yin has taught me into my more Yang like practices and ultimately my life as a whole. 

Yin is such a great compliment to other styles and your own personal life, because it brings long periods of time in an uncomfortable position, which then asks you to learn to “be” to “accept what is” in that given moment. Something we can all benefit from daily. 
 
And for me a healthy Yin practice has poured over into a healthier Yang practice and a healthier life as a whole. And I wish that for everyone.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Achilles tendinopathy

Your Achilles tendon is an important part of your leg. It is found just behind and above your heel. It joins your heel bone (calcaneum) to your calf muscles. The function of your Achilles tendon is to help in bending your foot downwards at the ankle. (This movement is called plantar flexion by doctors.)

Achilles tendinopathy is a condition that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and weakness of the Achilles tendon. It is thought to be caused by repeated tiny injuries (known as microtrauma) to the Achilles tendon. After each injury, the tendon does not heal completely, as should normally happen. This means that over time, damage to the Achilles tendon builds up and Achilles tendinopathy can develop.

There are a number of things that may lead to these repeated tiny injuries to the Achilles tendon. 
For example:
  • Overuse of the Achilles tendon. This can be a problem for people who run regularly. (Achilles tendinopathy can also be a problem for dancers and for people who play a lot of tennis or other sports that involve jumping.)
  • Training or exercising wearing inappropriate footwear.
  • Having poor training or exercising techniques - for example, a poor running technique.
  • Making a change to your training programme - for example, increasing the intensity of your training and how often you train.
  • Training or exercising on hard or sloped surfaces.
  • Having a high-arched foot.
  • Having poor flexibility - for example, having tight or underdeveloped thigh (hamstring) muscles.


Achilles tendinopathy is also more common in people who have certain types of arthritis, such as ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis. It is also thought that your genetic 'makeup' (the material inherited from your parents which controls various aspects of your body) may play a part for some people who develop Achilles tendinopathy.

People who are taking medicines from a group called fluoroquinolones (eg, the antibiotics ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin) for long periods also have an increased risk of developing Achilles tendinopathy.

Achilles tendinopathy used to be known as Achilles tendonitis. In general, 'itis' usually refers to inflammation, so tendonitis would mean inflammation of a tendon. However, Achilles tendinopathy is now thought to be a better term to use because it is thought that there is little or no inflammation that causes the problem.

If the Achilles tendon is torn, this is called an Achilles tendon rupture. There is a separate leaflet called Achilles Tendon Rupture that discusses this in more detail. The rest of this leaflet is just about Achilles tendinopathy.


What are the symptoms of Achilles tendinopathy? The main symptoms include pain and stiffness around the affected Achilles tendon. Pain and stiffness tend to develop gradually and are usually worse when you first wake up in the morning. (Severe pain that comes on suddenly and difficulty walking can be symptoms of Achilles tendon rupture. See a doctor urgently if you develop these symptoms.)
Some people have pain during exercise but, in general, pain is worse after exercise. Runners may notice pain at the beginning of their run, which then tends to ease and become more bearable, followed by an increase in pain when they have stopped running. Pain due to Achilles tendinopathy may actually prevent you from being able to carry out your usual everyday activities such as walking to the shops, etc. You may notice that you have pain when you touch the area around your Achilles tendon. There may also be some swelling around this area.

Diagnose:
usually diagnose Achilles tendinopathy because of your typical symptoms and from examining your Achilles tendon. They may feel for swelling or tenderness of the tendon. They may also ask you to do some exercises to put some stress on your Achilles tendon. 

For example, they may ask you to stand on the affected leg and raise your heel off the ground. For most people with Achilles tendinopathy this movement brings on (reproduces) their pain. 

If this does not reproduce pain, your doctor may ask you to hop on that foot, either on the spot or in a forwards direction. Your doctor may also do some other tests to make sure that there are no signs that you have ruptured your Achilles tendon. For example, squeezing your calf muscles and looking at how your foot moves.

X-rays or other tests are not usually needed to diagnose Achilles tendinopathy. However, an ultrasound scan or an MRI scan may sometimes be suggested by a specialist if the diagnosis is not clear.
What is the initial treatment for Achilles tendinopathy?
There are a number of treatments that may help. The treatments below are usually suggested first. 

They are all considered as conservative treatments. This means treatments that do not involve surgery.

Rest:

Rest and time off from sporting activities are important if you have Achilles tendinopathy. At first, you should stop any high-impact activities or sports (such as running). As pain improves, you can restart exercise as your pain allows. 

It is thought that complete rest, if it is prolonged, can actually be worse for the injury. Talk to your doctor about when you should start exercising again.

Ice packs:
Ice treatment may be useful for pain control and may help to reduce swelling in the early stages of Achilles tendinopathy. An ice pack should be applied for 10-30 minutes. Less than 10 minutes has little effect. More than 30 minutes may damage the skin. Make an ice pack by wrapping ice cubes in a plastic bag or towel. (Do not put ice directly next to skin, as it may cause ice burn.) A bag of frozen peas is an alternative. 

Gently press the ice pack on to the injured part. The cold from the ice is thought to reduce blood flow to the damaged tendon. This may limit pain and inflammation. Do not leave ice on while asleep.

Achilles tendon exercises

Some special exercises to help to stretch and strengthen your Achilles tendon can be helpful. You should aim to do these every day. Such exercises may help with pain control and stiffness.

A physiotherapist may be able to help you with these exercises as needed. They may also use other treatments such as ultrasound and massage to help relieve symptoms and promote healing of your Achilles tendon.

The following exercises can be used to help treat Achilles tendinopathy:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

AVOID 5 exercises...if you suffer from Back Pain & Slipped Discs

60% of Adults experience back pain at some point in their life....and, for the most part they’re totally unaware that they are exacerbating their back pain by making bad exercise choices.


When you’ve got back pain the last thing you should be doing is rounding the spine (and reversing the natural lumbar curve).  The moment we bend forward or hunch the back, whether sitting or standing, the load on the disc space increases dramatically, putting a huge amount of pressure on the lower lumbar vertebra!

It may come as some surprise that some of the more common exercises are actually some of the biggest culprits!
1) Toe-touching; and twisting the spine:

Repetitive toe touching rounds the spine and puts pressure on the lumbar curve, performing this repeatedly places pressure on the intervertebral discs which leads to degeneration.

2) Situps/Crunches:

While sit ups used to be a favourite for working the belly this move only works 20 percent of your abdominal muscles and puts a huge strain on the back.  Pulling on the neck while crunching hurts the upper back and your lower back gets hit when as your hip flexors pull on the spine to raise your upper body off the ground.  So instead of opting for a gruelling sit up routine, consider planking – which works your entire body while really focussing on your core.

3) Double leg raisers:

Another favourite in the gym, but again a common exercise that can stress the lower lumbar and Sacro iliac joints. For most people, it’s nearly impossible to keep the back from arching as both legs raise and lower. When that happens, the back hyper-extends, placing stress on the spine and increasing the risk of injury. 

If you’re set on doing double leg raises, try placing your hands underneath your lower back for added support, moving in a slow, controlled way. If you have any back pain – simply avoid this exercise.

4) Spinning with a rounded back: 
Mountain biking and cycling with an upright posture honours the correct lumbar curve and doesn’t create undue stress on the back, however leaning forward on a spinning bike or doing long distance road cycling may put stress on the lower spine and exacerbate tension in the area.  

Commonly cyclist who complain of numbing fingers and numb toes while riding are actually suffering from the effects of locked up muscles which have tightened in response to the body’s rounded posture.

 5) Running:

Running is a high-impact exercise. The faster you run, the harder your feet hit the ground and this repetitive jarring is very hard on the joints and the spine. 

Studies such as the one published in the September 1986 issue of the “British Journal of Sports Medicine” found that the spine shrank by several millimeters after a 6 km run, and the shrinkage was directly proportionate to running speed. 

Although the relationship of spinal shrinkage to spine pain isn’t fully known, those results show how much stress running can put on the spine. If you experience chronic back pain, running may not be an option.

SUCCESSFULLY MANAGING BACK PAIN
Rule no 1 : you CANNOT build strength or tone into stressed or tight muscles!
When  one is experiencing pain or tension from body stress being present in the body the first approach is to release the tightly locked up muscles to allow the muscle tone to relax back to a more normal tone.  You’ll do by working with your Body Stress Release practitioner.

When the muscles have had an opportunity to release you’ll be able to build up strength through well directed exercise such as:
Swimming ; Walking ; Pilates and Core excercises that your BSR practitioner will give you.Training with an instructor who understands the Biomechanics of the spine 
Manage your limits :  In doing exercise, remember to listen to your body. Pain in the warning signal that you are starting to push yourself beyond your individual limit into “overload”.   When you feel pain, stop or adapt the activity- don’t try ignore the pain or “work through it” or supress it with pain killers.  In the long run a little rest often goes a long way in bouncing back stronger.