Regular exercise is vital in keeping back pain at bay by toning your muscles, allowing your body to support your back much better.
People with good fitness levels tend to experience less back pain, so get out of the house and go walking, swimming or cycling for half an hour a day. Exercise classes such as yoga or pilates are also great for your back, and visiting the gym can also help.
Keeping active is also good for you if you're already suffering from back pain. Even if exercising feels painful, it will not harm your back and keeping active is one of the best ways to allow your back to recover.
However, it is also important to take care when exercising, as a careless twist, bend or pull could strain your back and result in an episode of back pain.
- Warm up - Always make time to warm up before any exercise. Gently stretch both your upper and lower body to get your circulation going and to loosen up your muscles. If you already have back pain take extra care not to overstretch.
- Good posture - If you are lifting weights at the gym, make sure you bend your knees and use your leg muscles to lift - not your back.
- Correct equipment - It is crucial when exercising you have the correct equipment and clothing. For example, if running, always wear proper running shoes that fit properly. Also, if you are playing tennis or badminton, make sure you buy a racket that is not too bulky or heavy for you.
- Cool down - Gently stretching your muscles after exercise is just as important as warming up. It loosens your muscles, helping to prevent stiffness later.
- Early intervention - If you do seriously hurt your back whilst exercising, make sure you visit your GP as soon as possible. Treating sport injuries at a later date is much more difficult.