Back pain is one of the most common causes of time off work and most people will suffer from a bad back at some stage in their life. The majority of back problems are as a result of strains, sprains, poor posture and being out of condition rather than spinal damage or other health problems. Keeping a strong, flexible and active body is therefore key to good back health.
It’s important to stay active whatever your age and to exercise regularly throughout the week. The type of movement you do can vary from a walk round the park, a run, or a Pilates class: often it doesn’t matter what type of activity you do, just that you move your body. The key thing is to chose movement you enjoy and will therefore do regularly, a bit of variety can also be really beneficial to ensure you are moving the body in different ways and working a variety of muscle groups. Not only will this positively impact your physical health, your mental health will also benefit.
Get up from your desk
If you have a desk job or lead a sedentary lifestyle where your sit for long periods of time, it really is important for the health of your back to change your habits and get up and move around regularly. Try getting up once every hour to go for a short 5 minute walk, go up and down the stairs 5 times or have a stretch to make sure you are working the muscles to increase blood flow and avoid becoming stiff increasing the chance of discomfort.
Focus on posture
It’s also crucial to think about how you are sitting or standing. If you are working from home, is your desk and chair at the right height? Does the chair you sit in support your back or do you end up with your pelvis rolled backwards? Are your shoulders rounded with a forward head position? Make sure you think about your posture and are comfortable sitting and standing!
Strengthen your core
Regular strength training or Pilates to strengthen the core is extremely beneficial to ensure a strong body and reduce the risk of injury and back pain. These don’t have to be exercises like planks or crunches if these don’t appeal. Any movements which recruit the stomach muscles, as long as they don’t place stress on the lower back, will be beneficial. Pilates and EMS training are both brilliant options for strengthening the core muscles.
Consider your load
When it comes to heavy lifting, technique is really important. Make sure that you are bending your knees so the whole body can help with the weight of what you are lifting. Also consider how and what you carry on a daily basis – whether this is a handbag, shopping bags or small children. Is the weight of what you are carrying effecting your back? If so try and make small changes to help your body be more comfortable. Always keep the weight close to your body. The further you extend a weight away from your center of mass, the harder you core and back have to work. Do not always carry a heavy bag or child to one side! Switch between both sides in order to prevent any imbalance in tension on strength.
Look after your feet
Back pain can often be linked to other structures of your body such as the hips knees and especially feet. Keeping a healthy back is often closely linked to the health of our feet and so wearing comfortable good fitting shoes is very important. Ensuring good mobility of the muscles and joints of the feet is also beneficial especially as we age when muscles and joints become less mobile. All too often the feet are neglected!
Stretching or muscle release techniques
If you suffer from tight muscles, stretching after activity can be really beneficial for some people. Make sure your muscles are warm prior to stretching as stretching cold muscles can lead to injury. Sometimes back pain can be as a result of tightness in other parts of the body (for example the hamstrings) so don’t just focus on the back. In addition to stretching, using a massage ball, tennis ball or spikey ball can help to release knots and muscle tension. A regular sports massage can also help to remove knots and release tight muscles.
Fasttrack Fitness Winchester
Fasttrack Fitness offer personal training, private STOTT pilates and EMS training or injury rehab from our private studio in Twyford, near Winchester. We have a great deal of experience of working with lower back problems and are passionate about helping you find the right type of exercise for you. If you would like to find out more about what we do or arrange a free trial contact us : https://www.fasttrackfitness.net/contact-us/
TO find out more about EMS training, please go to www.fasttrack-ems.com