Whatever your condition, there are steps you can take to improve your back health by getting vertical: standing up and exercising more. Moving helps increase circulation to your back, which in turn brings much needed nutrients to the disc spaces and soft tissues.
With this in mind, here are 7 tips to help you “Get Vertical”:
- Take a stand at work
A health buzz word circulating for the past several months is “sitting disease.” Sitting too much all day, every day of the year has a serious impact our health. One study showed a significant increase in people’s mood and a decrease in their back pain when they stood for just one extra hour a day.
If you work at the office all day, invest in a stand up desk. You can find simple, inexpensive models easily through an internet search.
If a standing desk is not your style, aim to stand up and stretch at least every 20 minutes.
- Make an appointment with a physical therapist
Physical therapy can have a profound effect on your spine health if you find the right therapist.
- Find a walking buddy
Set a standing walking “date” with someone in your office or in your neighborhood who has a similar walking pace as you. Hopefully you’ll connect with someone who also has similar interests, so the time you spend walking will fly by.
- Or, just place a treadmill in your TV room
Have you ever added up how many hours you actually spend watching your favorite TV series? Consider investing in a treadmill and walking at a moderate pace while you watch your favorite shows. You’ll be so engrossed in the plot lines you won’t even notice you’re moving!
- Adopt a dog
Studies show dog owners tend to be happier and healthier than non-dog owners. It doesn’t take a study to show that if you have a dog, you’ll have to walk more. If you walk slowly, consider adopting an older dog who won’t demand a lot of time or energy, but who will just appreciate a home, and a low key walk every day. If you have more energy, go for a younger, more active dog to keep you on your toes.
- Or, offer to walk your neighbor’s dog
If adopting a dog is too much responsibility, take notice of the harried mother down the street, or the elderly couple next door with dogs. Offering to walk their dogs even once or twice a week could be as big of a help to them as it is to your spine.
- Clean your own home
If you really hate formal exercise, don’t discount how much you move when you clean your home and tend your own yard. Scrubbing the shower, mopping the floor, raking the leaves, pushing a mower all count as exercise. All these tasks accomplish the same things as formal exercises: they challenge your muscles and get your heart pumping.