Thursday, April 21, 2011

5 ways to keep your back in shape


Eisha Sarkar
Posted on Hello Wellness on Apr 20, 2011
A sore back can be quite a pain in the neck. Modern lifestyle demands we spend most of our waking hours slouched in front of a computer. Little wonder, four of out five people complain of back pain. Keeping your back in good condition will go a long way in keeping you healthy. Here are 5 ways you can shape up your back:

Work it out
Regular exercise increases your back's flexibility and endurance. Work on the muscles that support your back, such as those of your stomach, hips, buttocks, thighs and abdomen. Swim, walk, cycle or do yoga to strengthen your back.

Keep off the weight
People who are overweight often experience lower back pain because the spine was not developed in order to carry a load that is heavier than our body at its normal, lean weight. Trim the bulge to get a straighter back.

Let it rest
Your spine takes in all the stresses and strains of movement through the day. Rest it properly when you sleep. Use the right mattress and pillow to support the spine. A massage will also help you relax by improving blood flow and increasing the level of ‘feel good’ endorphins in your bloodstream.

Straighten up!
Stand up straight. If you stand for long periods of time, place your feet alternatively on a low footstool to ease your lower back. Sit up straight, with your knees slightly higher than your hips and your feet either flat on the floor or on a stool. Choose a chair that firmly supports your lower back or place a pillow between your back and the chair to maintain its normal curve. Take breaks to walk every half hour if you need to sit for long. When driving, move your car seat forward so that your knees are bent. And when you lift something, bend at the knees and not at the waist!

Those boots were meant for walking...
Whether they're for walking or for exercise, the shoes you wear have a big effect on your back. They should be well-balanced, flexible and most certainly comfortable. Remember, working towards better health can be really that simple!

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