Keeping a healthy back is more difficult now than ever. In 2019, the average day includes hours of sitting in an office chair, lots of time hunched over a smartphone or long, crammed car rides while commuting to and from work. It is very easy to develop bad habits, such as improper posture or lack of movement over the course of the day, each of which can potentially contribute to back pain or injury. Keeping your back strong and healthy will help improve your posture dramatically, which can help you avoid discomfort or pain.
Here are six tips to help you keep a healthy back, especially for us lengthy folks.
Regular exercise is a key component of keeping your entire body, especially your back, healthy. Ensuring that you are getting at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week will go along ways in helping to keep your back strong and healthy. There are a number of ways to strengthen your back, but the exercises may vary depending on what you hope to accomplish. Strength training is a great way to add muscle, but there are a number of lower-impact activities that can be a great starting point.
Ensuring proper posture is a good way to keep your back healthy. Many of the issues caused by poor posture will be felt in the back. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to help mitigate problems that arise from poor posture.
When sitting, be sure to sit upright, with your feet touching the ground, looking straight ahead. Make sure that your office chair is properly adjusted to help make it easy to hold correct posture. For taller people, finding a chair that accommodates long legs and arms can be tedious, but well worth it in the long run.
When using your cell phone, try to hold it higher up to minimize the strain on your neck and back. Don’t forget to sit up straight too!
Going hand in hand with posture, ensuring that you have the ability to change position often throughout the day can do wonders for your back. Moving around and changing positions can help keep your back muscles loose and prevents cramps. In an ideal world, you’ll have a variety of different work stations allowing you to sit, stand or move around while continuing to be productive. After each hour, it is important to take a break, change positions and move your body.
As commuting has become a regular part of the American work day, many people spend multiple hours per day in their vehicles. Choosing a car with the proper seat height, lumbar support and leg room is key for anyone who is commuting. Taller individuals may think that their options are limited to trucks and SUVs, but many smaller, more fuel efficient cars or hybrids offer plenty of leg room. Adding additional padding to the back of your seat to create a flatter surface can help alleviate back pain. For anyone with a longer commute, don’t be afraid to make a quick stop to stretch your legs.
Stretching has a number of benefits but can be especially helpful in keeping a healthy back. Stretching helps to increase flexibility and improve circulation. Additionally, it can help to improve your posture, keeping back aches and discomfort at bay.
Developing a regular stretching routine can help to build the muscles in your back, making them less susceptible to injury.
6. Using Your Legs, Always
One of the most common causes of back injuries is improper lifting technique. The old adage “lift with your legs, not your back” is something that many people tend to forget. This should be practiced throughout your daily activities, not just in the gym. Stand with your legs apart, bend at the knees, keeping your back straight and strong. For taller people, the easy route is to bend at the waist, shifting the weight of the load onto your back. Don’t take the easy way out! Your body will thank you! Move the load as close to your body as possible, utilizing your entire body to help carry the load. The key to responsible lifting is knowing your strength. Don’t over exert yourself as it is a very easy way to get hurt.