Preventing Back Injuries with Healthy Habits
It is evident that there are numerous health benefits to getting in the habit of regular exercise and stretching. A regular strength training routine that focuses on your core (abdominal) muscles can help reduce your risk of back-related injuries, such as strains and muscle spasms. By incorporating core strengthening exercises into your workout at least two times per week you will develop a stronger and more flexible back.
Regular Movement & Stretching
It doesn’t matter whether you are at a family gathering, the office or relaxing around the house, avoid standing or sitting for extended periods of time. Standing, sitting, or lying down in one place for a longer duration of time isn’t healthy for our backs. While at home we have a habit to vegetate and relax after a long day of work. Move away from the couch, TV or computer to change your movements in order to prevent putting pressure on your spine. You can relieve this strain simply by getting up every 20 minutes, walking around, and doing some simple stretches. This will help improve the circulation to your back and ease any strains or aches that occur due to inactivity.
Osteoporosis is one of the most common causes of back pain in the later years of our life (more common in women). Our bones have the potential to become brittle and fragile due to the loss of tissue. This can be attributed to hormonal changes or vitamin deficiencies. To prevent this we need to ensure we are getting an adequate supply of Calcium (yogurt, leafy greens, almonds, broccoli, milk, etc.) and Vitamin D (cheese, orange juice, egg yolks, tuna, salmon, beef liver etc.). Speak with your physician to determine if vitamin supplements will assist you.
While trying to maintain a healthy posture we often forget about the types of shoes we wear. By wearing comfortable, low-heeled (less than 1 inch) shoes you can assist in preventing back pain. This arch support will reduce the strain on your back while standing. Higher arches (high heels, boots, 1+ inches) increase the stress and strain on your lower back. Flip flops and sandals are also so flat that there is a lack of support and only provide cushioning and protection from the ground. There needs to be a healthy balance.
It is clear that smoking is a serious health risk. It is also more common for smokers to experience back pain compared to nonsmokers. It reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood (lack of nourishment to muscles/tendons) and can restrict the blood flow to the discs in your spine causing potential for the discs to crack, dry out, or even rupture. An unhealthy and weak back is far more vulnerable to accidental strains and pulls that cause back pain.
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