In today’s world, busy work schedules have made back pain a common health problem. As prevention is always better than cure, the best way to prevent back pain is through regular exercise. Regular exercise improves your physical as well as mental health. The benefits of regular exercise are as follows:
- Increased circulation of blood to the heart and muscles
- Strengthening of the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments; especially those related to the spine
- Reduces the accumulation of metabolic waste products such as lactic acid
- Boosts the supply of oxygen and nutrients to any damaged tissues
- Reduces stress on the bones and joints
- Stimulates the release of neuroendocrine substances in the brain such as hormones and endorphins
The comprehensive patterns of exercises that are beneficial for health are categorized as:
- Warm up and stretching
- Cardiovascular activity and cool down
- Strength training
Warm Up and Stretching
It is very essential to warm up and stretch your body, before initiating any exercise. The objective of warm up and stretching is to prepare the body for the exercises to prevent the incidence of soft tissue injuries. Warm up exercises can comprise of fast walking and jogging for 10-15 minutes.
Stretching refers to the extension of body parts and muscles to their full extent. Proper stretching of back, chest, neck, shoulders, legs and arm muscles such as pectorals, triceps and biceps improve the efficiency of body movement. Stretching in the gym can be performed with specially designed chairs or through resistance training against the wall or other stationary objects.
In cardiovascular activity the duration and intensity of walking and jogging is more than that for a warm up. Cardiovascular activity may be performed for 20-30 minutes and is followed by a cool down session. In the cool down session, the heart rate is gradually slowed down to the normal level, by decreasing the intensity of the activity.
Patients suffering from back pain and herniated disc should avoid riding a stationary bike during cardiovascular activities, as the sitting posture exerts more stress over the back and can aggravate the problem.
Strength training is considered as the basis for maintaining a healthy body and a strong back. Strength training helps in losing weight and to develop a strong and lean body. Strength training assists in thickening of the muscle cells to prevent injury to the muscles, tendons and ligaments, reducing the incidence of back pain. Strength training stimulates bone growth and improves conditions such as osteoporosis.