6 Tips For A Healthy Back
by Kathy Smith
Perfect Your Standing Posture
When standing, keep one foot slightly in front of the other, with your knees somewhat bent. Stay upright, being careful not to bend forward at the waist for prolonged periods of time. Maintaining this posture helps keep pressure off of your lower back and ensures that your muscles don’t become de-conditioned, leading to pain.
Beware Of Sitting
If you sit at a desk for much of the day, listen up! When you’re sitting, keep your knees slightly higher than your hips, with your head up and back straight. Avoid rolling your shoulders forward, and aim to maintain the natural curve in your lower back. I like to keep a stretchy band at my desk so I can do a few simple stretching exercises throughout the day to maintain good posture.
Don’t Add Extra Pressure
If you have extra weight on your body, pressure is added to your back, causing pain. To release as much tension as possible, keep the number on the scale within 10 lbs of your ideal weight. Belly fat is the biggest red flag, because it puts unwanted force on the muscles, ligaments and tendons in your lower back.
Reconsider Your Sleeping Position
Some sleeping positions are worse than others, especially if you sleep on your back. In fact, sleeping on your back puts apx 50 lbs of pressure on your spine! If you want to lay on your back at night, place a pillow under your knees to cut the pressure of your spine in half. And of course, never sleep in a position that causes a portion of your spine to hurt.
Lifting & Carrying
One common cause of back pain is improper safety while carrying and lifting objects. When carrying heavier items, keep them as close to your body as possible. If you’re picking up an item from the floor, DON’T bend over at the waist to pick up the item. Instead, kneel down on one knee, as close as possible to the item you’re lifting, with the other foot flat on the floor and pick the item up. When lifting, be sure to not twist as you reach up. Twisting is one of the most dangerous movements for your spine. Is the item is too heavy to lift, keep in mind that pushing and object is easier on your back than pulling it. Whenever possible, use your legs, not your back or upper body, to push an item.
Those who smoke have more spinal pain than nonsmokers, and they also heal more slowly once the pain hits. This happens because the chemicals in the tobacco smoke restrict the flow of blood to the tissues in and around your spine. So if you want to improve your overall health and reduce back pain, it may be time to throw the smokes away!
Always make sure to keep you exercise program going, maintain a healthy weight, and get a good night’s sleep to help you live a healthier lifestyle with a healthy back. Of course, always consult your doctor if you continue to have ongoing back pain. I’m Kathy Smith, and here’s to your health!
- Perfect Your Standing Posture
Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.