By Andrej Kovačević
Two of the most fundamental ways to safeguard your health are sticking to good eating habits and getting regular, quality exercise. But what's the definition of quality exercise? Doing any kind of cardio training will benefit your heart health and improve circulation as well as exercising various muscle groups.
The other side of the fitness coin besides cardio is strength training. This includes stretching exercises, callisthenics (exercising without weights), weight training and the use of fitness equipment. The key to getting an effective and healthy workout is to pay attention to your body core, not just legs, arms and belly.
How do core exercises protect against pain?
The lumbar area of your spine, abdominal muscles and back muscles work together to help your body maintain equilibrium. This core region is your centre of gravity, and a strong core gives you more strength and protects against muscle strain and spinal injury. That's why using stretching, callisthenics, weights and exercise equipment to strengthen your core is one of the best ways to alleviate back pain.
Core workouts are also one of the most proactive ways to prevent back pain in the first place. One meta-analysis examined the optimal weight load, frequency and duration of body core exercises over a 25-year span ending in 2014. It included people who participated in planned workouts in the survey, but researchers found that there was more to the story. Those who also integrated core strength and stability exercises into their daily activities got the most benefit. The researchers also found that knee and lower back injuries were more common in people with less core stability and strength.
Tips for a Productive Core Workout
If you already have back pain, don't exercise in a way designed to protect your back from any movement. It's important to build up the back muscles that cushion the spine. The spinal cord is your body's shock absorber, and it's protected by the ligaments and muscles surrounding it. Strengthening those muscles will support the spine and help eliminate back pain.
It's important to distinguish the difference between "productive" pain from working out and the kind that causes undue stress on your body. That's why observing proper posture and form when doing core exercises is essential. Remember that the amount of weight you can lift, push or pull isn't the same thing as the amount you should be attempting. If you're not used to doing core body exercises, it's best to start with callisthenics, and then resistance training, before moving on to working out with weights.
More Tips for Avoiding Back Pain
● Strive to stay close to your optimal weight.
● Keep your body aligned properly when sitting and standing.
● Use appropriate posture when doing daily chores, especially lifting.
● Get the best mattress you can afford for good sleep.
● Reduce stress and anxiety in your life.
Excess weight puts added strain on your muscles, so shedding extra pounds can reduce back pain. Practising good posture and investing in ergonomically aligned furnishings will also help. Mental issues are sometimes overlooked as contributing factors, but stress can lead to muscle tension and pain, and even affect the alignment of your spine.
Add Core Training to Your Exercise Routine
Hopefully, these suggestions have illustrated that preventing and alleviating back pain is something that's within your grasp. Combine regular exercise that includes a core body workout with good habits like getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, maintaining an optimal weight and reducing stress. These are the basics recommended by fitness experts, health professionals and researchers. They've worked for countless others, and they're a roadmap for staying pain-free and in the best of health.