Best Practice Guide: How to Keep Your Back Healthy
Your back is a central, crucial part of your body that affects how you sit, stand, and move. Being such a core component, any damage to the back could have a major negative impact on your overall quality of life and impede everyday living.
Today, we’re taking a look at how to keep your back healthy and strong. A few adjustments to your daily routine could make all the difference. Check out our best practices guide and identify actions you could take for a healthier back.
How to Keep Your Back Healthy and Strong
Back pain is one of the most common health conditions, impacting an estimated 80% of all adults at some point in their lifetime. Back pain can range from mild discomfort to a fully debilitating injury that disrupts your lifestyle and could cause lasting damage. To counteract these forces on your spine every day, it’s important to learn how to keep a healthy back before any issues arise. Not only might this lower your risk for injury, but it could help minimize damage if you experience one.
As the central component of all our daily activity, the importance of spinal care can’t be overstated and there’s no better time to start than now. To help you identify areas in which you could improve your spinal care, take a look at these best practices and learn how to keep your back healthy and strong:
- Kneel to bend
- Don’t lift heavy objects
- Carry items properly
- Use chairs with lumbar support
- Practice good posture
- Don’t lock your knees when standing
- Exercise regularly for core strength
- Stay hydrated
- Get more restorative sleep
Kneel to Bend
Starting off our list of best practices for learning how to keep your back healthy and strong is kneeling to bend. Many of us don’t think about how we bend over to pick up objects every day, but chances are you’re doing it incorrectly. Bending over at the waist puts excess pressure on the spine that can cause extra wear and tear. Over time, this strains the muscles and could result in you suddenly needing to know how to heal a herniated disc.
Skip the pain by kneeling to bend, instead. Bending your knees and lowering your whole body when you need to bend over is easier on the spine and is a small change that makes a substantial difference.
Don’t Lift Heavy Objects
Next up as we explore how to keep your back healthy is recommending you don’t lift heavy objects. Our backs function as the central core keeping our bodies moving, but they weren’t meant to carry heavy objects.
If you find yourself needing to lift or move a heavy item, ask for assistance or make use of tools like a hand truck or rolling cart, instead. Not only does this save your back from lifting those objects, but it keeps you from possibly doing more damage by twisting or turning improperly, as well.
Carry Items Properly
Alongside knowing when objects are too heavy to lift safely, carrying items properly is a crucial adjustment when learning how to keep your back healthy and strong. From boxes to furniture and everything in between, try to even out the weight of what you’re carrying and keep it close to your body.
For heavier objects, avoid carrying them to one side, as this puts excessive pressure on the vertebrae and could lead to muscle strain or herniated discs. Keep whatever you’re carrying centered and close to your body so your center of gravity is left as unaffected as possible and you can still move with good posture.
Note: Carrying items properly is vital at all ages and includes objects you might not have considered such as kids carrying backpacks. Make sure they use both shoulders to carry these bags instead of slinging them over one shoulder.
Use Chairs With Lumbar Support
Learning how to keep your back healthy and strong means knowing how to sit and rest the right way, too. When seated upright, you want to make sure you’re using a chair with enough lumbar support to keep your lower back in alignment. This reduces strain on the lower back and may help you prevent pain from sitting too long, a particular concern for those working in an office setting.
What’s the right chair for this kind of support? Many people have turned to zero gravity chairs for lumbar support and the way they support back health. These modern recliners are designed to properly support your body when sitting upright as well as alleviate excess pressure from the lower back when reclining.
The reclining zero gravity position elevates the legs above the heart level and distributes weight evenly along the body. Not only is it comfortable, but it facilitates a plethora of potential health benefits including better blood circulation and back pain relief. Even 20 minutes a day in your zero gravity chair may provide the same amount of spinal healing as 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
Practice Good Posture
Posture is a commonly overlooked cause of back pain that is vital when learning how to keep your back healthy and strong. Practicing good posture isn’t about rigidity, but keeping your body in its natural alignment for adequate support.
Slouching, hunching over, or learning forward are examples of bad sitting habits you may be committing without realizing it. Taking care to make these adjustments and practicing good posture can quickly become second nature, reducing stress on the spinal column and keeping your back healthy.
Don’t Lock Your Knees When Standing
Part of learning how to keep your back healthy and strong also means standing properly. Standing up straight, you should be able to draw an invisible line from your ear to the shoulders and down through your hip to your ankle. This corresponds with the natural “S” curvature of the spine and keeps the body in alignment.
To do this, it means standing with “soft knees” rather than locking them into place. Not only do locked knees while standing add negative pressure to the spinal column, but it restricts blood flow to your lower extremities and could even result in fainting if maintained long enough.
Exercise Regularly for Core Strength
Strengthening your core is a key method for how to keep your back healthy. Strong core muscles support the spinal column to improve mobility and flexibility. Some easy core strengthening activities you can include in your daily exercise routine are:
- Glute bridges
- Transverse abdominal contractions
- Seated rotations
Core strengthening exercises build up your stability, which could help protect the spine and prevent injuries. It’s a vital part of how to keep a healthy back now and in the long term.
Drinking enough water isn’t just part of how to keep your back healthy and strong, but should be a key point of your overall wellness routine. Water directly impacts your spinal health by keeping discs properly hydrated and allowing them to cushion the bones in your spine more effectively. It’s a vital part of preventing back pain through daily wear and tear.
There are various recommendations for how much water you should be drinking each day. The general consensus for many is to aim for half your body weight in ounces. This means someone weighing 160 pounds should strive to drink 80 ounces of water each day to stay properly hydrated.
Get Restorative Sleep
Last, but not least, as you learn how to keep your back healthy and strong is getting enough restorative sleep. Not all sleep is the same. Each night, our bodies go through a 4-step sleep cycle. The latter two steps of this cycle are considered “restorative sleep” and are essential to muscle repair, tissue growth, and enhancing how the body heals itself overall.
Avoiding elevated stress levels, screen time before bed, and finding other ways to get more restorative sleep will help you keep a healthy back and may lower the risk of future injury. As you sleep, the discs of your spine rehydrate faster and your body recovers.
We hope this guide on how to keep your back healthy has helped you identify areas to improve in your life. Our spines are a central component of everything we do, so taking care of them should be of utmost importance. These small lifestyle adjustments will quickly become healthy habits that could have a major positive impact on your overall health and wellness.
Interested in experiencing the potential benefits of zero gravity chairs for yourself? Check out the Svago Newton Zero Gravity Recliner, the most effective, feature-packed, sophisticated zero-gravity recliner in the world.