Top ten tips for a healthy back

Back pain affects up to 1 in 4 of the Australian population on any one day and is one of our most common health conditions. It can happen at any age and last days or even years. 

Here are our top ten tips to keep your back as healthy as possible:

Exercise regularly – While walking, swimming, pilates and yoga are all excellent ways to strengthen your back and improve flexibility, any activity is good for you. Choose something that you enjoy to help you maintain your physical activity long term.

Keep active and avoid long periods of bed rest – Even when you have pain, gentle movement will help settle your back and strengthen your muscles. Your physiotherapist can tailor an exercise program to suit your fitness level and give you advice on where to start.

Learn correct lifting technique – Correct lifting can help prevent injury and avoid back pain.

  • When lifting a heavy object position your body directly in front of it to lift and turn with your feet, not your back.
  • Carry the object close to your body.
  • Bend your knees, using your legs – not your back – to bear the weight.

Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle – Carrying excess body weight can put additional pressure on your muscles and joints, which can lead to pain. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle will help you achieve a healthy weight.

  • Enjoy a wide variety of foods from the main dietary food groups every day.
  • Limit saturated fat, added salt and sugars, and alcohol intake.

Don’t Slouch – Slouching doesn’t necessarily cause discomfort, but over time it can place strain on muscles and soft tissue.

Posture pointers:

  • Don’t let your head slump forward
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed, not hunched
  • Don’t cross your legs
  • When standing, distribute your weight evenly on both legs.

Quit Smoking – Smoking can reduce the blood supply to discs between the vertebrate, which can lead to disc-degeneration. You can find information about the ways to quit smoking at icanquit.com.au

Take breaks when driving – Take regular breaks when driving long distances. A firm seat provides better support and a rolled-up towel behind your back at waist level can provide extra lumbar support.

Adapt your work environment – Tips for sitting at the computer:

  • Use an upright chair that has good lumbar or back support
  • Position your monitor so your head and shoulders are relaxed
  • Keep your mouse close to your body
  • Don’t cradle your phone between your head and your shoulder
  • If your work is more manual and requires the use of tools:
  • Avoid working where the floor is cluttered, uneven, wet or slippery
  • Use long handled tools where possible
  • Perform a variety of tasks, changing position frequently.

Learn techniques to help manage stress – Relaxation is a crucial part of easing the pain caused by muscle tension. While you cannot always avoid stress, you cna learn to reduce and manage it. Learn to identify the signs of stress, identify its source, connect with friends and family who care, and make time for relaxation. Simple breathing exercises can also help. Try breathing in through your nose while counting slowly to five, then breathing out to five. Keep doing this for three to five minutes.

Seek a medical opinion – Most back pain disappears within days of weeks. If your pain persists, gets worse or you experience any other symptoms (like feeling unwell), see your GP or other qualified healthcare providers.

Myth Busters

Myth #1 – Moving will make my back pain worse

Fact – It is essential to keep moving. Muscles that are in spasm, due to pain, relax when gently moved or stretched. Gradually increase how much you are doing, and stay on the move.

Myth #2 – A scan will show me exactly what is wrong

Fact – There is a growing body of research that shows that not only do results of scans correlate poorly with symptoms in people with back pain, but also that most people without back pain have changes on scans that do not cause any symptoms at all.

Myth #3 – Pain equals damage

Fact – Recent research has changed our thinking of pain. Level of pain has little relationship with damage to the spine and more to do with your unconscious and conscious interpretation of the level of threat the pain represents.

 

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579.
This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).

What we can learn from exercises around the world

This article has been republished from AIA Vitality-Vlife 2018.

Whether it’s speedy ballet-based workouts in London or laughing sessions in India, exercise trends always develop for a reason – and they usually say something about who we are as people. We take a look at fitness trends across the world and the important lessons they can teach us.

Exercise trends come and go as people across the world try out different methods of keeping fit. Right now, global exercise trends fall in favour of wearable tech, body weight training and high-intensity training (HIIT) – but customised, mixed-discipline classes continue to rise.

Whatever the trend, there are lessons to learn from new (and old) methods of exercising. Here are the ones we’ll be applying to our future workouts.

India’s Laughing Yoga
Lesson: don’t take things too seriously

Bangalore in India has been described as one of the best laughter cities due to its sheer number of laughing yoga clubs. This laughter therapy combines simple flexibility exercises, yoga and pranayama (a practice which focuses on controlling the breath). And it’s not just one type of laughter on offer either: practises range from appreciation laughter to apology laughter and even Charlie-Chaplin laughter. Closer to home, Laughter Yoga Australia delivers workshops at schools, workplaces and aged care centres in order to facilitate the proven benefits of laughter on the human mind and body.

China’s Boxing Classes
Lesson: take it out on the punching bag

Moving away from the traditionally slow pace of tai chi to a more gym-centric attitude to keeping fit, China’s younger population are heading in droves to gym classes – including boxing – claiming stress-relief as a big factor for their chosen methods. Considering the increasingly frenetic pace of China’s major cities, it’s no surprise that an outlet is in order – but we could all do with a little light relief at times. Take your pick of boxing classes at Fitness First or Virgin Active gyms across Australia.

LA’s Lagree Method
Lesson: just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you can’t do it

LA is known for its pioneering exercise class landscape, and one of its prominent offerings is the Lagree method. Using a machine called the Megaformer, this workout combines pilates and bodybuilding to sculpt and tone, and is known for its high intensity. It promises to deliver a workout that addresses cardio, strength, endurance, body composition and flexibility – all in under one hour.

Europe’s Barre Workout
Lesson: you do have time to exercise

Europe teaches us that not all exercise routines need to take a long time. Barrecore studios in London run an express workout option (45 minutes) in which their signature ballet-based workout (that uses your own bodyweight as resistance) is condensed to fit into a lunch break or early-morning session. Designed to work the entire body, the strengthening exercise promises to create a lasting change to posture and alignment. Try it for yourself wherever you are in the world with a subscription to BarreCore’s online video workouts.

This article was originally published here “https://www.aiavitality.com.au/vmp-au/latest_news?selDate=4/2017&article=exercises_around_the_world”.

This is general information only without taking into account the circumstances of any individual. It is not intended as medical, health, financial or other advice. It is current as at the date of publication and may be subject to change. AIA Vitality is available with eligible products issued by AIA Australia. For full terms and conditions of AIA Vitality partners, benefits and rewards, and to view the AIA Vitality Terms and Conditions and Benefit Guides see aiavitality.com.au. Partner terms and conditions may also apply. For material which references AIA Vitality but does not include detailed information: AIA Vitality is available with eligible products issued by AIA Australia. For full terms and conditions of AIA Vitality partners, benefits and rewards, and to view the AIA Vitality Terms and Conditions and Benefit Guides see aiavitality.com.au. Partner terms and conditions may also apply.

 

McQueen Financial Group is a corporate authorised representative of Total Financial Solutions Limited. AFSL No. 224 954, ABN 94 003 771 579.

This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should not act on any information in this report without first consulting a professional investment adviser in order to ascertain whether the information and any investment decision is appropriate. This information is believed to be accurate however no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given in relation to any advice or information contained, and neither TFSA or its Representatives and officers, agents or employees of either of the aforementioned shall not be held liable for any loss or damage whatsoever arising in any way for any representation, act or omission, whether express or implied (including responsibility to any persons by reason of negligence).