Tips for a Healthier Back
Helpful tips for a healthier back can include exercising regularly, stretching prior to exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight and nutritious diet. Other tips for a healthier back can include wearing comfortable, low-heeled shoes, maintaining good posture, and sleeping on your side.
Nine Easy Tips for a Healthier Back
Helpful tips for a healthier back that you can start using today include:
- Exercise: Begin a program of regular low-impact exercises following any period of prolonged inactivity. Examples of low-impact exercises include: speed walking, swimming, or riding a stationary bike 30 minutes a day, which can increase muscle strength and flexibility. Yoga can also help stretch and strengthen muscles and improve posture. Ask your physician or orthopedist for a list of low-impact exercises that are appropriate for your age and that are designed to strengthen lower back and abdominal muscles.
- Stretch: Always stretch before and after exercise or any other strenuous physical activity.
- Posture: Don't slouch when standing or sitting. When standing, keep your weight balanced on your feet. Your back supports weight most easily when curvature is reduced.
- Work: Whether you work at home or in an office, make sure your work surface is at a comfortable height for you. Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep your shoulders back, switch sitting positions often, periodically walk around the office, and gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of your back can provide some lumbar support. If you must sit for a long period of time, rest your feet on a low stool or a stack of books.
- Shoes: Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes as much as possible.
- Sleep: Sleep on your side to reduce any curve in your spine, and always sleep on a firm surface.
- Lifting: Ask for help when transferring an ill or injured family member from a reclining to a sitting position or when moving the patient from a chair to a bed. Don't try to lift objects that are too heavy for you. Lift with your knees, pull in your stomach muscles, and keep your head down and in line with your straight back. Keep the object close to your body and do not twist when lifting.
- Health: Maintain proper nutrition and diet to reduce and prevent excessive weight, especially weight around the waistline that taxes your lower back muscles. A diet with sufficient daily intake of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D will help to promote new bone growth.
- Don't smoke: If you smoke, quit. Smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine and causes the spinal discs to degenerate.