As the years add up, a lack of care for your spine can lead to pain and put you at risk for serious complications.
To help alleviate your discomfort and prevent future injuries, make these 3 spinal indulgences part of your daily routine:
1. Take a walk
Low-impact aerobic exercises, like walking, provide numerous benefits for your spine. For example, a daily walk strengthens the core muscles that support your spine, nourishes your spine by spurring healing nutrients and oxygen to the area, improves your overall flexibility, and reinforces the bone structure of your spine.
When you walk, make sure your practice good walking form. This means you need to walk with your shoulders straight, your head held up high, and your stomach slightly pulled in toward you.
If you suffer from a spinal condition, get the okay from your doctor before starting a walking regimen. And if you’re not an experienced walker, or if you're dealing with severe pain, it’s a good idea to begin with several short walks every day and slowly build up to a single long walk.
2. Follow a healthy diet
You may not realize it, but the food you eat every day plays a significant role in determining the overall health of your spine. To indulge your spine, avoid excess amounts of saturated fats (found in many baked goods, fried foods, and butter and/or cream). It’s also a good idea to eliminate processed foods from your diet, and to limit your intake of liquid calories (i.e. calories from soda and coffee-based drinks).
In place of the above unhealthy foods, make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein into your diet.
It may be difficult to make multiple abrupt changes to your diet, so you can start by changing one simple thing per week. For example, the first week you can cut out sugary drinks from your diet.
As an added bonus, a healthy diet will help you maintain a proper weight—which in turn can reduce the pressure on your spinal structures and minimize your back pain.
3. Use a standing desk
Sitting places 3 times as much pressure on the spinal discs in your lower back (lumbar spine) than standing. This means that excessive sitting can have serious consequences for your lumbar spine.
One way to reduce the negative effects of sitting is to indulge your spine by using a standing desk for all, or part of, the day. Here is how you can get started:
- Standing desks can be expensive, so consider purchasing an affordable platform that you can place on top of your current desk.
- Make sure you also purchase a pair of shoes that you feel comfortable standing in for long periods of time.
- Set a goal of accomplishing one specific task per day using a standing desk. For example, you can answer your emails in the morning while standing.
- Add an additional task each week, and slowly you will build your way up to spending the majority of your day standing up.
The above 3 spinal indulgences may seem like small changes to your daily routine, but over time they can add up to meaningful relief.