Recent research has indicated that inactivity is much harder on the back than participating in a reasonable and active lifestyle. Physical conditioning is one of the essential keys to preventing lower back injuries. Exercises which strengthen the core along with aerobic exercises cane help stabilize and strengthen the spine which can be critical in maintaining good spinal health as well as keeping the back pain free. At the same time, back injuries are some of the most commonly reported types of sports related injuries that athletes suffer from. There are several types of exercises which can help strengthen the back as well as help maintain good spinal health. Remember that it is always advisable to discuss any new exercise regimen with a physician before beginning.
Warm up and then Cool Down
Some people want to just hit the gym running – literally. But a solid warm up before you begin and a cool down period after you are done can mean the difference between sustaining a back injury or avoiding one. The main idea behind warming up is to slowly increase the circulation throughout the body including the areas of the back. Some prefer forms of stretching to get their bodies moving, but walking can be just as effective. It is also important to warm up the main parts of the body that will be actively engaged in the sport or activity. Once muscles are engaged and mobile and supplied with adequate circulation, it is less likely that you will sustain a back injury. Once you have completed the exercise routine it is equally important to spend time cooling down and allowing your circulatory system to recover slowly.
Maintain Good Posture
Every sort of exercise will require proper form and good posture. Having good posture will help protect the back and generally prevent back pain. Keep shoulders back and do not lock your knees. No matter if you are in an aerobics class or lifting weights, maintaining proper posture will ensure that the back is adequately protected. It is advisable to check your posture repeatedly during the exercise routine. Having good form and posture will help keep your body from fatigue which will ultimately prevent injuries of the back. Once you get tired, it is easy to forget all about maintaining good posture but if you start to notice that you are slumping or slouching during exercise it is better to take some time to rest so you can refocus on maintaining good posture.
Increase Intensity Slowly
Many individuals take a long time to get motivated to even start an active exercise regimen. But once they get started they find it invigorating and exciting. It is then easy to err on the other side of things and increase frequency or intensity too fast which almost always results in injury. In order to protect the back as well as other muscle groups, it is important to increase the intensity level slowly. The principle of adding slowly should be followed no matter what sport or activity is being engaged in from lifting weights, to running, walking or cycling. Most organized programs offer a “beginners” version which is typically safe for the back and the body. From there, as you become conditioned, add intensity and frequency.
Work Your Core
One problem many novice athletes or those beginning a new exercise regimen find is that they just get started and they discover a back injury. This can be avoided by working more than just one isolated muscle group. Even if you want to concentrate on one group you will want to develop other groups to provide more strength and stamina. In order to keep the back strong, the core of the body must also be strong. Keeping other muscle groups in good shape will help add stability and support to the back which will be essential in preventing back injuries.