Over the past year, we’ve all probably done more sitting at home than we’re used to. And it’s definitely more sitting than our spines are used to.
Now more than ever, it’s crucial to take care of your spine. You can do some things throughout your day to reverse the effects of sitting and maintain the health of your spine.
Here are just a few ways to take care of your spine:
1. Lift with your legs.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Lift with your legs.” But why is it so important? Before lifting an object from the ground, make sure you’re bending your knees and keeping your back flat with your core tight. Using your legs to lift (rather than your back) protects your spine and keeps it functioning as it’s designed.
2. Stretch throughout the day.
If you sit at a desk for most of your day, take frequent breaks to stand and stretch. Giving your body a chance to get a break from a seated posture gives your spine some relief. Taking a few minutes to stretch will improve your flexibility and promote better movement up and down the length of your spine.
3. Drink plenty of water.
Your spine is yet another part of your body that functions best when you’re properly hydrated. Each of your spine’s vertebrae is separated by a disc that provides shock absorption. These discs provide the most cushion when you are well-hydrated. Without enough water, the discs collapse, causing back pain and a limited range of motion.
4. Practice yoga.
A yoga class provides many benefits to your spine. Many of the movements can counteract the effects of sitting or standing with poor posture. As your body relaxes throughout class, you also release some of the muscle tension that’s built up around your spine, leading to improved mobility.
5. Check-in with your work setup.
If you spend your day at your desk, do your best to set up your workspace to support your spine. Sit up straight with your feet on the floor; try to avoid crossing your legs. Keep your arms bent at about ninety degrees and keep your core strong to avoid slouching or rounding your upper back and shoulders.
6. Stay physically active.
A well-rounded workout routine that includes cardio, strength, and flexibility exercises also promotes a healthy spine. A lack of physical activity can lead to stiffness and limited range of motion throughout your body. But staying active improves your overall health and quality of life.