I Got Your Back
I GOT YOUR BACK WITH USEFUL TIPS AND EXERCISES
With baseball season winding down, we hear the inevitable news of players sidelined by back injuries. Last week, two major league players were sitting out their teams’ crucial games due to back problems.
Of course, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to suffer from lower back pain. In fact, about 80 percent of Americans complain of back problems at some point in their lives.
When you bend over and scream “Ouch, my aching back!” the last thing you want to do is work out. But here’s the rub – exercise is very beneficial because it can both relieve and prevent back problems.
While you may want to sit out the acute phase of your pain, once the soreness subsides, start some gentle stretching and strengthening exercises. They will not only help reduce the pain, but also improve your flexibility and keep your back muscles and other supporting tissues less prone to future injuries.
Some of the exercises that can lessen the back pain include pelvic tilt, knees-to-chest stretch, shoulder blade squeeze, and hip twist, among many others. To strengthen the core and back muscles so they become resistant to injury I recommend moves such as lunges, hip bridges and side planks.
However, certain exercises can actually harm our backs or exacerbate existing injuries. There are some moves that people with chronic back problems should not do because they put extra pressure on the ligaments and disks in the spine. If you work with a fitness professional, he or she will show you safe, customized back exercises.
Let me also point out that, as with any ailment, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
It’s true that some chronic back problems are caused by medical conditions. However, far too many cases are avoidable, such as bad posture or spending hours hunched over the laptop.
To protect your back, I recommend the following:
Losing weight. “The extra pounds can cause excessive strain on your lower back. Diet and calorie-burning exercises can help you get in shape.”
Giving uncomfortable shoes the boot.“High heels change the angle of your body, putting pressure on the spine. Backless flip-flops distribute your weight unevenly, also hurting the spine. Wear good, comfortable, supportive shoes.”
Lightening your load:“Heavy bags slung over your shoulder not only strain your back, but also your neck, shoulders, and arms. If you must carry the kitchen sink in your purse, at least try to distribute the weight more evenly – for example in a backpack or fanny pack.”
Incorporating back-strengthening core exercises into your regular routine. “Squats, deadlifts, push-ups, core rotation exercises and rowing exercises of any kind are effective in injury-proofing your back.”
About Progressive Fitness Training Center:
Launched by fitness expert Coach Tee in October 2010, Progressive Fitness Training Center is a co-ed personal and group fitness training center which specializes in the areas of weight loss training, TRX suspension training, functional training, small group training and indoor boot camp training. Program details and client testimonials are available at www.myprogressivefitness.com. Tee, a certified fitness expert with 22 years experience in the fitness industry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 925-727-3031.