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Living your best life is hard to achieve if you don’t feel well physically. When you think about the ways to spend your free time, relaxation and catching up on your favorite shows are probably at the top of your list. But by incorporating a few simple steps into your everyday routine, you can embark on a healthier path to help you shed extra pounds, as well as that unwanted back pain. Below are four easy activities that will keep you active while putting you on the path towards a stronger, less troublesome spine for years to come.
Unwind in the Pool
In-water workouts not only help you stay cool and comfortable while you exercise, but also provide a low-impact alternative to jogging and other spine-jarring activities. While learning the proper technique for any swim stroke is essential to avoid unnecessary muscle strain, two of the safest maneuvers for back pain sufferers include the sidestroke and backstroke.
Each of these cause minimal flexion and jerking motions of your head and neck and avoid hyper extension of the lower back muscles in comparison to freestyle, butterfly and breast strokes. It’s also true that simply treading water for 20–30 minutes provides a surprisingly effective, impact-free workout that strengthens your core muscles and makes your back less prone to injury.
Stick to a Plant-Based Diet
There are lots of fun ways to make veggies the staple in your diet. Try firing up the backyard grill and cooking some nutrient-rich vegetables, such as bell peppers, asparagus, carrots and onions — all of which have inflammation-fighting properties that may reduce chronic back pain. Consider substituting red meat with grilled eggplant, which is not only fat-free, cholesterol-free and sodium-free, it’s a great source of dietary fiber. Don't be shy about flavoring your food with herbs and spices like ginger, rosemary, garlic, oregano or turmeric — all of which are known anti-inflammatories. Consider visiting your local farmers market to find more in-season veggies and herbs.
Go for a Relaxing, Outdoor Stroll
Walking in a relaxing outdoor setting — around a lake, on a trail through the woods or perhaps on the hard-packed sand of a beach — is a low-impact, easy exercise for many people that increases the circulation of feel-good endorphins and serotonin throughout the body. It also burns real calories, even if your pace is relatively slow. Regular walking also relaxes and strengthens the core muscles that support your spine, reducing your chance of experiencing a strain, sprain or muscle spasm.
Focus on Feeling Whole
When you’re outside on your daily walks, spend a few moments to practice some deep breathing. Take in the world around you. Be present, focused and aware. As mentioned in our previous blog on the importance of getting outside, open-air venues are a great way to soothe your body, mind and spirit. Natural scents, like roses and pine, can instantly make you feel calm. Just a few minutes of outdoor time each day can help you gain extra energy and feel whole.
If daily activities are tough to enjoy due to chronic back pain, now is the time to act. The experts at AdventHealth can determine the reasons behind your pain and suggest a variety of effective treatment options. We’re ready to help you get fit and feel better. If you're uncertain whether these suggestions are right for you, always check with your primary care doctor or make an appointment with one of the country's leading specialists at AdventHealth.