Humans have probably suffered from backache since the first caveman threw a spear or lifted a too-big rock. Our upright posture gives us free hands and good visibility, but does make us prone to back trouble due to the heavy head at the top.
Take the time to understand your back and how to make it stronger with these ideas.
There are three main groups of back muscles, which also have other functions. The extensors support the spine from the rear. The hip flexors provide frontal support. These muscles are the only ones that cross the pelvis and are vital for strength and posture. The obliques are the ‘side’ muscles that provide stability for twisting movements.
A stronger back begins with a stronger core, which creates a natural support belt for the spine. Any exercises for the abdomen, waist, glutes and upper legs will also benefit your back.
It is important to build up slowly with the strengthening exercises. Trying to rush it can strain your unsupported back, and do more harm than good. Concentrate on correct posture and ‘form’ and be patient.
Good core exercises range from pilates and yoga to weight training. Targeted core exercises with no equipment (such as planks and bicycle crunches) are also excellent to support your back.
The three main rules are:
Think posture: Make sure you are correctly positioned for keyboard and screen work, and take regular breaks. Stand tall!
Carry loads correctly: heavy bags positioned badly can really hurt your back. Use a backpack with a hip belt, and don’t carry too much.
Shoes matter: heels and ballet flats are for special occasions only. Everyday shoes should provide support. Running footwear (and all exercise footwear) needs to correctly fitted and up to the job.
Look after your back – it will let you know eventually if you don’t!
anyone else sitting up straighter while reading this? I am guilty of carrying a backpack sloppily, will make a note to put on both straps and do up the hipbelt!