As an alternative to lying on the floor and performing a single stretch for your back, try this move to both loosen and strengthen your spinal muscles at the same time. Be sure to hold the curve in your back for several seconds so your muscles can feel the full effect. This is an excellent move after a period of prolonged sitting.
1) Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place your fingertips behind your head with your elbows pointed out to the sides. Inhale and straighten your spine, lifting up from your hips until you are sitting up tall.
2) Exhale, pull your navel inward and round your spine, bending your knees as much as you need. Be sure to start the rounding action at your waist as if someone were pulling your belt from behind. As you round over, curve your upper back, neck and head toward your knees. Hold the C-curve for 10 seconds as you breathe out. Inhale, sit tall and repeat 3 to 5 times.
— Karen Voight can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times