8 Tips to Keep Your Back Strong This Year

back pain back strength

The structures that make up your back are responsible for keeping your body flexible and upright, as well as supporting much of your upper body weight. Unfortunately, because of these functions, your back is susceptible to injury and pain. 

Every year, millions of Americans experience back pain. In fact, back pain is the leading cause of missed days at work, according to the National Institutes of Health.  

At the Spine Institute of Southeast Texas, with offices in Houston, Pearland, and Lake Jackson, Texas, our board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Thomas Jones II, wants to share some tips on how you can keep you back strong this year. 

1. Engage in aerobic exercise regularly

Though we do recommend muscle-building workouts (more on that in a minute), to keep your back strong, low-impact aerobic exercise is a great way to improve back strength and flexibility. You don’t need to join a gym to get the benefits. Walking at a brisk pace for at least 30 minutes most days of the week can help you keep your back strong this year. 

2. Work out all of your major muscle groups

Strength training is also important when it comes to back strength. But we don’t want you to only focus on your back muscles. To maintain balance, flexibility, and strength, you need to work out all of your major muscle groups (back, arms, legs, buttocks, abdomen, chest) at least two days a week. 

We can help you design a muscle-building program based on your fitness needs or refer you to a physical therapist to create a program for you. 

3. Warm up before you exercise

Exercising is essential when it comes to keeping your back strong, but if you don’t warm up your muscles before you get started, you may set yourself up for a back injury. Gently stretch your muscles before you get started, and walk at a comfortable pace for a few minutes to warm up your muscles. 

4. Mind your posture

The curve of your spine is designed to balance the weight of your upper body to minimize stress on any specific joint. Maintaining good posture when sitting, standing, or walking is essential to prevent unnecessary stress. Good posture means keeping your head up and shoulders back. When standing, try to balance the weight of your body between your feet. 

5. Maintain a healthy weight

Excess body weight places extra stress on your back muscles and makes you more vulnerable to injury and pain. The extra weight may also increase the rate of degeneration of the structures that make up your spine and your risk of chronic back conditions such as degenerative disc disease or herniated discs.

6. Use correct lifting techniques

Your back muscles may be strong, but you shouldn’t use them when lifting heavy objects. Lifting with your back may lead to sprains, strains, or herniations. To protect your back, use your leg muscles when lifting. 

7. Fill your diet with healthy foods

When you’re working out to keep you back strong, you want to be sure to fill your diet with the right foods to build muscle, including lean sources of protein (poultry, fish, and legumes), fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. 

Calcium is also important for maintaining spine health. Good sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, fortified juices and cereals, leafy greens, and tofu. 

8. Quit smoking

Smoking affects every system in your body, including your back. This unhealthy habit affects blood flow to your spine and may increase disc degeneration and back pain. Smoking also increases your risk of osteoporosis, which is a bone disease that makes you more susceptible to fractures, including vertebral fractures. 

We specialize in treating back pain, and we know how it can affect your physical and emotional health. Taking steps to improve your back’s health and strength may prevent future suffering. To learn more about what you can do to keep your back feeling its best, contact us by phone or use our online booking feature today. You can also send a message to Dr. Jones and the team here on our website.

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