Every runner knows that in order to enjoy this sport for a long time, you need to protect your back. Luckily, doing so doesn’t require a lot of time or effort. Spine health is all about mindfulness and constant care.
Secrets to Spine Health
This is a guest post about spine health. It’s important to take good care of your spine as part of your overall health.
Over time, our muscles and tendons become used to the motions we most regularly perform, tightening up if they are not continually stretched out.
The more flexible they remain, the less chance you’ll suffer from a pulled muscle along your back or in your legs.
Strengthen Your Back
Along with staying limber, you’ll need to make sure your back muscles are strong enough to help you maintain proper form for the entirety of your runs. Even a few moments of slouching can lead to a pulled back or slipped disc-not good for spine health!
Try a few weight lifting and core strengthening exercises at least a few times a week.
Proper Form is Necessary
When you run, you need to make sure you are practicing correct posture. By keeping the back straight and positioned vertically over the hips, the stress caused by the up and down motion of the run will be absorbed by the leg muscles, keeping your back protected.
If you fear you run with bad posture, it might be advisable to see a specialist. You could have a coach recommend corrective exercises, or even get x-rayed. Having a professional with a professional look at your posture from the inside might help you to see if lingering posture problems are related to something else.
Take Rest Days Seriously
Whether you’re practicing for marathons or just getting your thirty minutes of activity in, many people forget just how important rest days are. By not working out on certain days, the body is able to repair damage while simultaneously making your muscles stronger. Too much exercise means this healing doesn’t happen.
Make sure you have at least one day a week set aside for rest and repair.
Good spinal health is directly related to a good diet. Providing your body with necessary nutrients, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts are required.
With these, the body can better heal areas that are injured or are showing signs of injury.
Hydration can never be overstated. Our bodies begin to deteriorate much quicker without water than when you go without food. Water keeps every cell in the body functioning at peak capacity, giving you the energy to focus on your posture during your runs. Because runners sweat a lot, being on top of your water intake is absolutely vital. I recommend drinking at least half your body weight in water.
Running is a fantastic sport with even better benefits. Unfortunately, many runners don’t take proper care of their backs, resulting in near constant back pain (I’ve been there!).
Don’t let this happen to you. Practice these spinal health tips, and you’ll be able to continue running for as long as your body is able.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more serious spinal health problems, Brooke recommends contacting a medical provider with a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences degree for a more in-depth diagnosis and treatment.