Does your back hurt? Most people complain of back pain at some point because our lower back bears the weight of the upper body. Aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility and good posture can relieve back pain. Research reveals that regular exercise reduces stiffness in the connective fibres and keeps the tendons flexible. Exercise also keeps your discs “spongy” by reducing the swelling in soft tissues. When you don’t exercise, the swelling in these soft tissues may increase. The good news is that exercising for your back is simpler than you think! No need to carve out hours a day for a strenuous workout; back-strengthening exercises can be done quickly and easily.
Stretch it out
Whatever your current workout, add a few minutes for stretches. Stretching improves flexibility, which improves your posture, and a good posture is essential for a strong and healthy back. Try a yoga stretch such as the downward dog. Stand on a non-slip mat and bend over. Flatten your palms shoulder-width apart on the mat. Straighten your arms, pushing your palms down into the mat. Push your hips as far back as you can, creating a triangle shape from your hands to your hips. Don’t tense your jaw! Try this exercise at the end of your day to help you relax.
Get up from you screen ever 30 minutes
A study by Temple University in America found that the average person spends nine hours hunched over a screen each day! That is a long time for your back to take strain. Stick a post-it note on your cubicle to remind you to take a break every 30 minutes.
Stomach in, shoulders back
Right now, in your chair, pull in your stomach muscles and straighten your shoulders. A strong core is vital for a strong back. In the car, place a cushion at your back to keep you upright instead of slumping forward.
Sort out your workspace
Is your computer at eye level? Does your chair offer good lumbar support? If not, place a rolled-up towel or cushion at the small of your back. Add height by placing your laptop on a stand so that you look straight at the screen.
Set an hourly phone reminder to sit upright with feet placed firmly on the ground. Place a pillow under both knees when you sleep on your back. This little trick helps your spine stay in alignment and cushions your hips, reducing the stress on your joints. Before you get into bed, stretch out your back, neck and shoulders. Do the same when you wake up.