If the phrase "Oh, my aching back" is part of your vernacular, you're not alone.
Back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in adults (only headaches top it). The good news is that by strengthening and stretching the muscles in your back (which, with your abs, make up the all-important core), you can relieve and prevent pain, says Michael Hisey, an orthopedic surgeon at the Texas Back Institute, in Denton. (In fact, research shows that the sooner patients with minor back pain begin exercising, the quicker they recover.)
Try these moves developed by Eva Pelegrin, a personal trainer and the founder of Attune Holistic Fitness, in New York City. Warm up first (a brisk eight-minute walk will do), then perform 8 to 10 repetitions of each exercise, working up to three sets. You'll need a five-pound dumbbell and an empty wastebasket. Remember to move in controll