Fitness: Don’t Be a Pain in the Back
You may consider it the fate of growing older, but you don’t have to suffer from a bad back. You simply have to protect your back from undue stress.
The lower back (lumbar spine) is usually the target of back pain, and it’s because adults spend a lot of time bending forward. You lean forward over your computer keyboard, sit hunched over your desk, slouch forward in the car, and bend at the waist (instead of bending at the knees) to pick up objects.
For the sake of your back and the body that it supports, use these back-saving techniques:
- Sit with proper form when you’re in front of the computer or doing any sort of seated work. Instead of slouching forward or sitting at a rigid 90-degree angle, lean back in your chair to about a 135-degree angle. This will take pressure off your spine.
- Don’t sit for extended periods of time. Stand up and walk around at least once an hour to reduce the strain on your back.
- Walk instead of drive whenever you can to reduce the total amount of time you spend sitting down.
- Never try to grab something that’s out of reach – use a step-stool instead.
- Follow proper lifting techniques. These will protect your back while you lift and carry heavy loads. The three rules of proper lifting are: 1) Keep objects close to your body, 2) Move your feet instead of twisting at the waist (whether it’s to reach for or set down objects), and 3) Keep your spine in a neutral position.
You can do more than avoiding possible back-breaking situations. Strengthen your core. Performing abdominal and lower-back exercises regularly (2-3 times a week) will keep you pain-free and standing tall for years to come.