You don’t often think about your back and core as long as they flawlessly do their job during your workouts. But having an injury there could take you out of training for months, if not years. Here is how to keep a healthy core and back for active people.
Warming Up Is For Wimps!
When we are young, we don’t really think about injuries, we feel invincible. I know I did. 6 or 8 years or so ago, I used to do an aerial act. There were days when I would get up at 11 and at 11: 30 would do a show, thinking, “warm-up much? Who Cares! ” My mindset was that warming up is for old people.
I know how very stupid of me: doing my act, which required some acrobatic ability, without any type of warm-up. Years later this I had to pay for it, as I injured my back and suffered through the most severe pain I ever had to go through. Before my that injury I didn’t really appreciate my back nor the rest of my health, as I thought it would last forever. These days I see a lot of young people making the same mistake I did and I try to go out of my way to teach people something that I’ve learned the hard way.
After suffering from that back injury for about a year and a half, I will now never skip a warm-up and I won’t stop warming up until I am completely sure that I am properly warmed-up, especially my back. Here is what I learned about back health and what you can do to prevent an injury.
A Good Warm-Up Focuses On The Back
Your back should be the first thing you should start warming up. Side to side bends, circles and walking in place with your knees high will do the job. Don’t skip this part! A good warm-up should be at least 10 minutes long, no matter what kind of workout you are going to do. You can tell when you’re warmed up good by listening to the sounds of your joints and how your back feels: there shouldn’t be any noise in your joints. and your back shouldn’t. Either means you have to keep warming-up.
Strengthen Your Core
In order for you to avoid back pain or back injuries you have to keep your core strong, because a strong core is the key to a healthy back – most back injuries happen because of a weak core. Planks before and after your training will strengthen your core muscles without putting pressure on your back:
Good Posture At All Times
When I was little, my grandma used to stress me about my posture with a scream and an occasional stick – when I didn’t’ see it coming. I remember playing outside with my friends and all of a sudden I would hear a wild shout (my grandma can do some serious damage with her yelling) and that shout always went like “BAAAAAAACK “. That was my only warning. The second time it was usually not her, but her stick that was saying hello to my back. Growing up, I eventually realized why she put so much effort into my posture: she wanted me to have a healthy back. I can tell you for a fact that most of the population has bad posture, and that is probably why most of the population has back problems.
Posture is even more important when we are sitting, which many of us have to do for longer stretches of time. I personally have a tendency to round my shoulders while I’m sitting, and the longer you keep rounding your shoulders, the worse your posture will get over time.
But there is a simple daily exercise you can do here: Place your hands behind your lower back and lock them togethe and keep that position for 2-3 minutes. Then place your hands behind your head and straighten out your back and keep that posture for 2-3 minutes. You will actually notice a much better posture within a week. I find that mornings are the best time to do this.
Always Use The Correct Exercise Form
I cannot tell you enough how many people use the wrong form while exercising. That is exactly where a lot of back pain and back injuries begin. No matter the exercise, you always have to remember: At all times keep your core tight and your back straight. I’ve seen some videos on YouTube where a trainer was showing several exercises and her back looked like a hook. when I saw that I wanted to deport the person who allowed this trainer to be certified, it really was that bad. So if a trainer tells you “don’t’ worry, you can curl your back”, run while you can! Form is always more important than speed of the exercise!
Ice Packs After Heavy Trainings
A lot of athletes do this after every single workout. Take a bag of ice and lay on it with your lower back on the bag. Raise your legs up in the air and place them against a wall, keep that position for 20-30 minutes. Our backs get can get inflamed when we train, and an ice pack can take down some of that inflammation. And by raising your legs you are allowing the blood flow to go back up from your legs to the main body, which will help your blood circulation after a good workout.
These were some of the most important tips you can for a healthier back. Of course, another great thing you can do is back strengthening exercises. Nothing heavy, but some different variations of back lifts will keep your back strong and properly aligned.
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