Strong abdominal muscles can go a long way in avoiding back problems. And if you’ve already suffered an injury, strengthening your abdominal muscles can help prevent you from reinjuring yourself.
Why is that? Because the complicated network of muscles and ligaments that connect to the spinal column provide important support, strength and stability for the spine, and well-conditioned abdominal muscles help decrease stress on the spine. Unlike muscles in our arms and legs, which get some exercise just from daily activities, our abdominal muscles don’t often get much of a workout. That’s all the more reason we need to incorporate exercise into our daily routine.
Walking Walking has a wealth of benefits. It helps build strength in muscle groups that hold your body upright, improving flexibility and increasing the production of pain-fighting endorphins. If you have ongoing back pain, balanced and stable walking enhances your ability to continue doing everyday activities, while reducing the likelihood of additional back pain.
Walking is low-impact, allowing the muscles to be worked without causing much stress or impact on the spine. If you decide to incorporate walking into your daily routine, remember to keep a brisk pace, good form and try to walk for about 30 minutes (or 2 miles) three or four times a week.
Water therapy exercise An even gentler form of exercise if water therapy. That’s because the water counteracts gravity and helps support your weight. Water also provides friction against movement, allowing strengthening and conditioning, while reducing the risk of further injury from losing your balance. The support provided by water can be very helpful for anyone who is overweight because the water counteracts the extra body weight, allowing free movement in the water. Water therapy is also a great form of exercise for anyone suffering from osteoarthritis.
Calm and quiet For some people, additional benefits can be enjoyed from calm and quiet forms of exercise like yoga or tai chi. Yoga, for example, involves a lot of gentle stretching, which increases blood flow, allowing nutrients to flow in, toxins to flow out, and providing overall nourishment of the muscles and soft tissues in the lower back. Tai Chi involves a lot of movement, but they are slow, gentle, flowing movements of the body; not jarring motions that create impact on the spine. Both forms of exercise incorporate meditative techniques that can help ease stress and anxiety, which can also help in easing back pain. And according to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise can: ■ Put you in a better mood by stimulating your brain chemicals and leave you feeling happier than you were before you worked out.
■ Help combat – or manage chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 Diabetes.
■ Help you control your weight.
■ Boost your energy level.
■ Promote better sleep.