Strengthening exercises help increase muscle tone and improve the quality of muscles. Muscle strength and endurance provide energy and a feeling of wellness to help you perform daily, routine activities. Adequate strength of abdominal and back muscles helps stabilize the spine, allows proper spinal movement and makes it easier to maintain correct posture. Strong hip and leg muscles are important to perform proper lifting techniques and body mechanics.
Abdominal exercise #1
Lie on your back on a firm surface with your knees bent. Raise your head and shoulders so your shoulder blades lift off the floor. Reach both hands toward your knees. Try to keep your head in a neutral position. Hold. Bring your head and shoulders back down.
Abdominal exercise #2
Lie on your back on a firm surface with your knees bent. Raise your head and shoulders so your shoulder blades lift off the floor. Reach both hands toward your left knee. Try to keep your head in a neutral position. Hold. Bring your head and shoulders back down. Relax. Repeat, reaching both hands toward your right knee.
Abdominal exercise #3
Lie on your back on a firm surface with your knees bent and feet flat on the surface. Flatten the small of your back against the surface and concentrate on tightening your abdominal muscles. Relax and repeat.
Abdominal exercise #4
Lie on your back on a firm surface with your right knee bent and your left knee straight. Hold your abdominal muscles tight and slowly lower and raise your left leg while keeping it straight. Relax and repeat. Now, change legs—bend your left knee and straighten your right knee. Repeat the exercise.
Back exercise #1
Lie facedown. Position a large pillow under your belly button to keep your spine in a neutral position. Place your hands behind your hips. Pulling your shoulder blades together, raise your head and chest. Keep your neck relaxed. Return to the starting position and repeat.
Back exercise #2
Sit upright in a straight back chair. Put your hands on your hips or behind your back, whichever feels more comfortable. Pull your shoulder blades together. Relax and repeat.
Leg exercise #1
Set up two chairs, one in front of the other. Hold on to the back of the chair in front of you and begin to sit in the chair behind you. Partway down, stop and hold your position. Relax and repeat. As you become stronger, try to hold a lower position that is almost, but not quite seated.
Leg exercise #2
Sit on the edge of a chair. Weave a belt around your legs just above the knees so it forms a figure eight. Pulling your legs in opposite directions, lift one leg off the floor. Relax. Repeat with other leg.
Leg exercise #3
Sit on the edge of a chair or table. Weave a belt around your ankles so it forms a figure eight. Try to straighten one leg while pulling the other foot backward, applying equal force with both legs. Relax. Repeat with other leg.
Chest and Arm Exercises
Chest and arm exercise #1
Sit in a sturdy chair that has arms (no wheels), with your feet firmly on the floor. Place your hands on the arms. Push your body up off the seat of the chair using your arms only, not your feet. Relax and repeat.
Chest and arm exercise #2
Stand facing a wall, far enough away that you can place your palms on the wall with your elbows slightly bent. Slowly bend your elbows and lean toward the wall. Straighten your arms and return to a standing position. Repeat. As you build strength, try standing further from the wall.