Sports are a fun and exciting way to get healthy, exercise, and socialize. However, as healthy as exercise is for the health of your muscles and organs, certain sports pose a risk to your spine. Here are some tips for keeping your spine safe during vigorous activities.
Make sure to warm up for several minutes leading up to intense activity. For any sport, stretch the specific muscles involved in the activity, but also make sure to do stretches and warm-up activities that stretch muscles in the upper and lower back and the hamstrings and quadriceps. Increase your circulation gradually by starting slow and working up to your full speed or intensity.
Use Proper Equipment
Whether you’re biking or bowling, the equipment you use can strain your back if it is not sized for your frame. When lifting weights, do not attempt to lift more than you’re sure you can handle, and have an expert at your gym make sure your form is correct. If you have had a history of back injury, doing more reps at a lighter weight will give you good results without causing additional damage.
Engage Your Whole Body
You probably already know that you should lift heavy objects with your legs and not your back. This applies to just about any activity in which you bend over, whether you’re placing a golf ball or swinging low in a game of tennis. Use the strength in your arms, legs, and core to avoid stressing your back muscles.
Use Shock Absorbers
If you are a runner or a bicyclist, shock-absorbing materials in your shoes or seat are vital. Those who suffer from back pain should try to stay on softer surfaces and trails; you should also do frequent, short bursts of activity, instead of longer ones.
Staying healthy involves practicing caution, even during your favorite sports and pastimes. If you have a history of spinal injury, talk to a specialist to determine if a specific exercise can be modified to fit your needs. To learn more or schedule an appointment with a spine expert, contact the Spine Institute of Nevada by calling 702-239-3787.