Watch Your Back!

Your spine (or backbone) is the foundation on which all of your joints and limbs rely on for stability and your body uses to fight the effect of gravity. Sitting at a desk for several hours at a time is, needless to say, not man’s natural habitat! We are literally not built to be sitting for prolonged periods of time. Bad things start to happen to how backs when we do: Our spine has 4 natural curves (front to back and back to front) that give it strength, stability, and flexibility. Sitting down on a poorly-designed chair for hours, days, weeks and months distorts these important curves. This leads to neck stiffness, shoulder tension and lower back pain.

To maintain your back healthy and strong consider the following pointers:

1. Get a high quality mattress
2. Every morning take 10-15 minutes to stretch gently and thoroughly. Try doing some easy yoga postures.
3. Exercise regularly. Combine sports such as jogging, swimming, cycling and weight training to strengthen your trunk and back.
4. Lead an active daily life. Even plain walking strengthens your back. Take the stairs and forget elevators. Don’t waste time competing for the parking spots, instead just park a little distance away and then enjoy the short and relaxing walk to where you are going.
5. To work or study at a computer, make sure you have the most ergonomic office chair you can get and the adjust it accordingly to fit your body size and shape. It doesn’t have to be worth $3,000. An extremely affordable alternative is to get an inflatable gym ball of the correct diameter for your height. They cost less than $20 and are amazing for your back and core health. They keep all of your back, waist and six-pack muscles engaged all day, without straining them. It also allows you to easily and unconsciously shift your position throughout the day so no one part of your body ever gets tired.
6. Take brief but frequent breaks during which you stand up, stretch and walk a bit, at least once every hour.
7. Treat yourself to a professional massage every once in a special while. You won’t regret it.

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