When you think about things to do during summer, relaxing on vacation and finding ways to beat the heat are probably at the top of your list. But this season is also a terrific time to embark on a healthier path that can help you shed extra pounds as well as unwanted back pain. Below are four fun summer activities that will keep you active while putting you on course for a stronger, less troublesome spine for years to come.
If your summer holidays are tough to enjoy due to chronic back pain, now is the time to act. The Spine Health Institute and Dr. Chetan Patel can determine the reasons behind your pain and suggest a variety of effective treatment options. Call us at Call866-986-7497 to arrange for a physical exam and consultation with a member of our multidisciplinary medical team. We can help you get fit and function better in no time!
Try combining two or more of the following:
1. Stay cool in the pool with these recommended exercises.
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 such 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. Its 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. Additionally, here are four more good exercises you can practice in the pool to promote a stronger spine.
2. Grill up something good with nutritious, inflammation-fighting foods.
Cooking out is practically synonymous with summer, and hot dogs and hamburgers aren't the only foods you can prepare over an open flame. Try grilling up 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. And consider substituting red meat with chicken or even better, a nice piece of salmon, which has omega-3s that are known for fighting inflammation. Don't be shy about flavoring your food with herbs and spices such as ginger, rosemary, garlic, oregano or turmeric, all of which are known anti-inflammatories. Another great summer food with this surprising characteristic: watermelon.
3. 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 your body. It also burns real calories, even if your pace is relatively slow. Moreover, regular walking both relaxes and strengthens the core muscles that support your spine, thereby reducing your chances of experiencing a strain, sprain or muscle spasm. Here are three ways to improve your walking technique so you can stay injury-free.
4. Learn Yoga or Tai Chi.
Its never a bad time to add a new mix of back-healthy exercises such as Yoga and Tai Chi moves to your repertoire. As mentioned in our previous blog post on 4 Outdoor Exercises for a Beautiful Day, open-air venues are popular spots for learning the moves you need to help boost your balance and strengthen your spine, thereby reducing your risk of falls, sprains and related back injuries. Want to know more? Here are three yoga poses that help stretch stressed-out back muscles.
If you're uncertain whether the above exercises are right for you, check with your primary care doctor or make an appointment at the Spine Health Institute for a thorough evaluation by Dr. Chetan Patel, one of our country's leading spine specialists with headquarters in Central Florida. Call Call866-986-7497 or click on the book online button at the top right-hand corner of this page.
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Swimming Away from Back Pain and Injury (n.d.). Retrieved from AboutSports.com: http://swimming.about.com/od/injuryandrecovery/a/swim_back_pain.htm
Water Exercises After a Lumbar Fusion (10/30/2013). Retrieved from LiveStrong.com: http://www.livestrong.com/article/245627-water-exercises-for-a-post-lumbar-fusion/
How You Can Eat to Beat Back Pain (09/02/2014). Retrieved from EverydayHealth.com: http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/can-good-diet-fight-back-pain/
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