If you follow our YouTube channel then you will know that we are currently doing a series on exercises for a Better Back. Since back health is such an important topic, we wanted to spend a little bit more time on it by focusing this month’s blog post on explaining a little more in depth how exercise can help to improve back health.
If you’ve ever heard someone say ‘you only get one back, you better take care of it’ you have heard some smart advice! While there are many amazing things Doctors can do these days I have yet to hear of back transplant. Therefore, it is very important that we do all we can to keep our backs healthy. Of course, not all problems can be prevented but exercising with proper form is a great place to start when trying to prevent back pain. If you, as most people in their lifetime do, already experience back pain there may be certain precautions to take (always check with your doctor first), but exercise may help reduce the severity of your symptoms or, if you’re lucky, eliminate it all together. Here are three ways that exercise can help to prevent or improve back pain.
1) Keep muscles strong to reduce risk of injury.
When we exercise on a regular basis we keep our muscles strong and capable of meeting life’s demands. Have you ever gone out to shovel snow for the first time in the winter and had a sore back the next day? Many people experience this but may have been able to prevent it by having exercised regularly throughout the course of the year. When we keep our muscles strong and healthy through exercise, tasks that we face in everyday seem easier and are less likely to strain us. Additionally, training your muscles under the guidance of a personal trainer who can promote proper form can help us to not put our backs at risk by performing daily tasks in safe manner. Bend with the Knees, friends!
2) Keep our bones (including vertebrae) healthy.
As we age our bones can become more fragile. It is not uncommon to see excess curvature of the spine in older adults, often due to osteoporosis. Compression fractures due to osteoporosis can cause back pain and make it difficult to get moving again, so prevention of this is very important. In addition to making sure you get adequate Calcium and Vitamin D, weight bearing exercise can also help to keep our bones in good health and protect against osteoporosis.
3) Improve our posture, or maintain good posture.
Poor posture can wreak havoc on our entire body. It can change the way we walk, sit, and eventually we can lose the ability correct it. We often adopt a hunched posture as we look at phones, computers, read books etc. As a result the muscles in the front of our body become tighter as they stay in a shortened position and the muscles in the back of our body become weak as they are constantly in a lengthened position and not engaged. These unnatural positions put different stresses and pressures on our back’s that were never intended to be there. These stresses and pressures then cause pain. Strengthening weak muscles and stretching tight ones can help us to reverse poor body positioning, and make us more mindful of our posture as we go about our daily lives.
So let’s take care of our backs, it’s the only one we’ve got! Stay healthy friends!
In case you missed it, here is the first video in our series: Exercising for a Better Back Week 1
As always please be sure to have clearance from your health care provider before beginning a new exercise program. We’ll have a new video ready for you next week, stay tuned!
Meg Stickl is an Older Adult Fitness Expert and the Founder of AIM Fitness- a local Ottawa Mobile Fitness Company specializing in Adults 50+.
Meg and her team love seeing their one-on-one Personal Training Clients gain strength and energy. Meg is passionate about sharing her knowledge about aging and fitness in the community, and she loves to travel to New York City and Jamaica!
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