Simple fitness exercises to do at home

Simple home exercisesIf you are stuck at home and want to know what the best exercises to keep fit are while protecting your back, then this video is for you. You don’t need lots of equipment. In fact, you don’t need any equipment. You don’t need colourful, stretchy gym gear either as you can do these exercises wearing normal everyday clothes.

These exercises work all the main muscle groups quickly so it doesn’t take long. You can go at your own pace and there are regular breaks – which you will need if you do the programme correctly. These home exercises use the principles of High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT but don’t let that put you off! All this means is that you do as many repetitions of each exercise as you can in a set time, followed by a short rest. The faster you go, the harder you work. And the whole programme can be done in only 7 minutes.



Download summary sheet-Click here

After three gentle warm-up exercises, you start with seven exercises which work each part of you. You start with 30 seconds of each one. There are harder versions of some so pick what’s right for you. You can also work for longer than 30 seconds if your fitness is up to it. If you are going at it hard, then 60 seconds is usually enough for most people. Then rest for 30 seconds or shorter if you are fitter.

You will probably experience some normal muscle soreness a day or two after starting doing home exercises that you are not used to, but this passes quickly. If you have pain on the same day, then you have probably overdone it. In this case, then stop doing the exercises for a few days until you feel more comfortable then start again at a gentler pace.

These exercises will protect your back so can be done even if you have mild back pain. If you have moderate or severe back pain we have a specific exercise programme for that – click here. If you are still having back pain despite this, then get in touch. We can help with free consultations over the phone or by video link. This is working surprisingly well.

You can build this exercise programme into other sorts of exercise too. A walk or a run before or after these home exercises can be very helpful.

The three best back exercises to do at home

Here are the three best back exercises to do at home. The Sundial chiropractors and physio’s here in Brighton, have 4 decades of experience treating back pain successfully and have found that these simple exercises, that only take a few minutes a day, really help a bad back. Start with the easy ones and gradually build up doing the exercises for longer and longer. If you experience any pain beyond a mild discomfort then stop and go back to an easier exercise. If pain persists then seek help from a healthcare professional.

One of the easiest ways to treat back pain yourself is to do more exercise. But you have to do the right type of exercises. Do the wrong ones and you could make the pain a lot worse!
So what are the wrong sort of exercises for a bad back? Deadlifts, sit-ups (if done wrong) and touching your toes are common culprits. More about that here.
Fortunately, there is a series of simple, safe and effective exercises that can make a big difference if you have chronic back pain.

Our go-to exercises for back pain are:

  • Side Plank
  • Modified Sit-up
  • Bird Dog (sometimes called the Superman)
  • Dead Bug (extra bonus!)

These exercises target the abdominal core muscles as well as the back muscles to provide strength and stability to most back problems.

As with all new exercises, start gently and gradually build up. If you go at it too hard to start with you can irritate already sore muscles and joints and you will get fed up with these wonderful back exercises very quickly. As a guide, if pain or discomfort on doing the exercise is above a four out of ten – stop – go back to an easier version.

What makes an exercise harder?
Obviously doing more repetitions makes the muscles work harder. So start with five reps.
Doing theses back exercises slowly is often harder as the core muscle have to balance your body for a longer time. Also making your body more unstable increases the impact on the core muscles. You can see this in the two versions of the Bird Dog exercise. The easy one moves one arm or leg at a time but the harder one moves an opposite arm and leg together whilst your weight is supported at just two points. People with chronic back pain often find this exercise quite difficult. If that is you, do the easy one first until you are more confident.
Increasing the load or weight lifted increases the work but these exercises are with your own bodyweight so that is not really an issue.
Give these exercises a go but if you are experiencing consistent pain and live or work in Brighton then come in to see us by booking online above or give us a call for a consultation. It’s free. We solve back pain with a tried and tested three-step process:

1 Consultation      2 Diagnosis      3 Treatment

Exercise mistakes that make your back worse

Most back exercises are great for the back and it doesn’t seem to matter much what exercises you do as long as you stay active. But some exercises can be harmful and actually damage your back. So whether you like the gym, Pilates, yoga or a sport it is important to know the good and the bad. Matthew was recently interviewed about just this topic by Stu Girling from Love Yoga Anatomy. Stu trains yoga teachers and practitioners on safe ways to do yoga.

One of the exercises that does more harm than good is forward bending despite the fact that lots of people do it to stretch their back. As we bend forward huge pressure builds on the lower discs. As you bend from the waist, if the lumbar spine is held in neutral, with its natural forward curve, the pressure on the disc is reduced. If you round your lower back as you bend forwards then the discs are vulnerable. The jelly inside the disc gets forced backwards and can cause cracking in the outer disc wall. If this carries on it can cause a disc bulge or a “slipped disc”.




If you bend, as in a yoga forward fold, over and over again then it can cause injury. It is like repeatedly bending a credit card, a white line appears and ultimately it breaks.

Many people with back pain feel that their back is too stiff and want to stretch it. A better goal for exercises is the right mix of flexibility and stability. If your back is too stiff and this causing pain then the solution is to unlock the spinal joints with chiropractic manipulation or mobilisation. If, however, your problem is too much flexibility then we work to stabilise your spine.

Best holiday luggage to avoid back pain

Going on holiday can be a real pain. Never mind the early start, the airport queues, and flight delays but back pain is common on holiday especially if you take the wrong luggage. With the huge variety of suitcases to choose from, what is the best luggage to protect your back from harm when you are travelling?

The very worst type of luggage for bad backs is the conventional suitcase. It is often heavy, even when empty and is awkward to move around. If you have to carry it any distance it soon puts a huge and uneven strain on your back. Using a trolley can help but what if you don’t have the right coins at the foreign airport or if all the trolleys are in use. Then you are stuck with 20 kilos or more of back bothering menace.

If you do find a trolley and have the right change you still have to lift the case on and off it. Once you have all your luggage on the trolley it can become heavy and awkward to move. Trying to turn a corner means you have to twist from the waist to move the trolley which again strains the back. If your trolley has a dodgy wheel it is even worse!

The best option for holiday luggage is a light wheeled bag with an extendible handle. This will save your back from lots of lifting. You still need to take care getting it on and off baggage carousels and in and out of car boots but it reduces the strain whenever you have to walk anywhere. Unfortunately with luggage you can only have two out of these three options:-

  1. Light
  2. Strong
  3. Cheap

The strongest and lightest luggage will tend to be a bit pricier than more flimsy bags but it will last longer. It is worth visiting a luggage store where they can talk you through the options and you can play about with the different types of bag. Heft it around and make sure the wheels are big enough to ride over rough surfaces otherwise you’ll end up carrying it more than you need to.

Many luggage manufacturers make premium luggage for a cheaper brand so if you know what to look for you can save some cash. For example, Samsonite make luggage for the American Tourister brand as well as Lacoste and Timberland although the last two may not be cheaper. A good local luggage shop in Brighton is Friends for Leather, who have 20% off their Samsonite Cosmolite range at the moment . They are also offering Sundial clients a 10% discount on other Samsonite ranges.

A luggage maker that has won awards and was the first to offer rolling carry-on luggage is Travelpro. It is known for durable, well made luggage. Its Maxlite range stands out  especially the four wheeled spinner type bags. Spinner bags put even less strain on bad backs as they are more easily moved around inside tight spaces like aircraft and in queues. You will probably end up carrying a two wheeled bag more frequently.

Best carry-on luggage for a bad back

With the coming of budget airlines comes carry-on only luggage. Exorbitant fees for putting luggage in the hold of an aircraft means more of us are using on carry-on bag instead. The same rules apply to choosing carry-on luggage – but more so as you will probably end up carrying it around the airport for longer.  Look for roller or spinner cases that most carriers will allow in the cabin, for example Ryan Air allow maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm and British Airways a slightly more generous 56cm x 45cm x 25cm.

If you are checking bags in then keep your hand luggage as light as you can. You can end up carrying it for a long time and you don’t want to lift a 23kg load above your head into a locker if you back is aching. A good option for a carry-on bag is a rucksack type design. Some even have wheels as well but this adds to the weight. Use both straps to avoid back strain too.

Travel light to avoid back pain

One more obvious bit of advice, of course, is to travel light. There is not much that you cannot get in to a Tesco shopping bag for a one week beach holiday so why weigh your self down.

When packing your case, put it on a bed rather than the floor so you are not bending over repeatedly. It is easy enough to slide it to the floor when full and it is closed without lifting it directly. At your destination either ask someone else to lift it onto the bed or luggage rack or unpack it on the floor. It is best to minimise lifting after a long journey.

Top luggage tips to avoid back pain

  • Use light, wheeled cases
  • Travel light
  • Raise the case up to pack
  • Get help lifting a full case
  • Avoid airport trolleys

If you get back from holiday and you are still getting back pain in spite of following these tips, or you want to get into tip top shape before you go, then feel free to give us a call for a check up to see if our chiropractors can help you.

For more holiday tips to prevent back pain go here

Bad Backs in Children

Back pain in children is common. About half of school age children report back aches at some time. Poor school chairs are often to blame. In this video Matthew talks to BBC’s Newsround about the importance of good chairs at school.

If you would like your child to have a free spine check-up then please call us to book an appointment.