The human spine comprises thirty-three vertebrae and is responsible for all forms of movement, from moving your shoulders to flexing your toes. As it connects to all movements in the body, abnormal movements or positioning can put some kinks in your spine and cause all kinds of pain that lasts well into your adult life, so here are a few tips to keep your back feeling great.
1. Practice good posture.
The majority of Americans spend their workdays hunched over keyboards, staring blankly at computer monitors, without any real care for how they are sitting. Posture plays a large role in your back’s health. Days of bad posture will bend your spine out of shape and make the rest of your body feel like it’s been through the wringer.
Keep good posture. Sit up straight, relax your shoulders, and make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Ergonomic chairs can help, but being mindful of how you sit is important too. Extend that good posture to how you stand to multiply the benefits.
Get your keister off those Zero Gravity recliners and get moving! By now, no one is surprised by the health benefits of exercise. It’s good for losing weight, maintains your metabolism, and works wonders for your spine. Regular activity maintains the exchange of fluids in your spinal structures. Frequent exercise also preserves spinal strength and balance. Extended disuse actually causes the ligaments, tendons, and connective fibers in your backbone to lose resiliency, putting you at greater risk for back injuries down the line.
You don’t necessarily have to focus on the back either. Simple aerobic exercises, like walking or riding a stationary bike, provide plenty of activity for your back. Yoga is a great way to stretch your back, improve circulation, and relieve pent up tension in your spine.
3. Sleep right.
Considering you spend, on average, 8 hours a day sleeping, your bed has a significant effect on your back. Your bed should provide plenty of support for your hips, back, and shoulders, but a rock hard bed is not good for your back’s alignment, while a soft bed causes parts of your body to sink down too much. And Fjords recliners do not a bed make, unfortunately. Find a proper mattress that suits your needs and offers support without feeling like a slab of granite.
If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs to support your hips. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees for the same effect.
4. Change your shoes.
Feet are much like the foundation of a building. If the foundation is unsound, the building won’t stand right. Unsound feet change your body’s entire alignment. Shoes change any physical unsoundness by providing feet with proper support, but too often we are left wearing uncomfortable shoes that only exacerbate the issue.
Flip-flops, for instance, provide no support and lead to stress on the joints and tendons in your feet, legs, and back. High heels change your center of gravity completely, putting extra strain on your lower back.
Invest in a pair of shoes with a strong heel counter and rigid midsole. If you must wear high heels for your job, try to wear them as little as possible. Keep some sneakers or flats on hand to change into when you’re not in the office.
Follow these tips and you can hopefully give your back a break.