When thinking of your core, consider the area around your trunk and pelvis. When you have good core stability the muscles in your legs, hips and buttocks, lower back and stomach work together. Strong core muscles make it easier to do most everything – stand, sit, recreate, run up stairs. Core exercises help you strengthen the muscles in your trunk and pelvis. They also help your balance, since the core is also your center of gravity.
Poor use or overuse of the lower back muscles, such as lifting and bending for a long period of time, can weaken the core. Weak core muscles leave you at risk for lower back pain and muscle injury. Long periods of stress, whether environmental or emotional can weaken the muscles in the back. So not only is strengthening the core imperative in back health maintenance, but releasing tension is also an important step.
This rotation stretch not only releases tension in the lower back but if done slowly should also give a little boost of abdominal strength:
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet and head on the floor. Tilt your pelvis slightly up so that you remove any hollow between your lower back and the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and breathe. Keep your shoulders on the floor and let your knees fall slowly to your left side. The bottoms of your feet can come up as your knees drop. Keeping your arms at your side can help to stabilize you and remind you to keep your shoulders on the ground. Go only as far as is comfortable. You should feel a stretch, but no pain. If you ever feel pain, consult with your health care provider. Hold for 15-20 seconds. Slowly bring your knees back up to their starting position remembering to breathe. Repeat on the right side, and repeat the set if desired.