Frank Mikulka's

Weekly Fitness Tip

May 9, 2004

I’m upper middle-aged and I seem to have lower back problems. Well, more or less, I feel like I am falling apart. Can strength training stop the decline? (Maury, West Hempstead)

It’s good that you recognize what can happen to the body when you stop playing high school ball. But seriously, your lower back problems mirror 80% of the population. Symptoms vary and include: a nagging, aching pain in the area, a pain that feels like an electric shock, or a pain in the lower back that radiates down a leg.

Some of these symptoms are caused by tight hamstrings, poor posture or weak abdominals.

Schedule an exercise program with a trainer to insure proper form and execution:

  • Warm-ups and cool downs
  • Basic total body strength. Stick to balanced programs to enhance the whole body without imbalances and weak link muscles.
  • Core stability and abdominal work
  • Stretching programs for the hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and erector spinae muscles.

Summer tip: When working around the house, cleaning out the garage, and gardening:

  • Bend your legs when lifting
  • Lift balanced loads
  • Try not to lift higher than the waist
  • Exhale on the lift

Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Sunday morning from 7:30 to 8:00 AM on WHLI 1100 AM. Also available on