While we’re all trying to find some semblance of normality after several months of dealing with the global pandemic, it’s still important to be mindful of social distancing and other COVID-19-related guidelines. These restrictions may make it difficult to strengthen your spine and its various parts in ways you normally would. The good news is there are some simple and effective ways to keep your spine strong and healthy while still social distancing. Here are four possibilities.
In many places, local gyms are off-limits, but there are still creative ways to get regular exercise that’s good for your spine. For instance, you could dust off an old treadmill or find a used one online and set it up in your home. An elliptical machine can also be a versatile piece of exercise equipment to use at home, since it targets core muscles in a way that’s not excessively stressful. Other options with socially distanced exercise include:
• Going for daily walks around your neighborhood or at a local park
• Signing up for online-accessible exercise classes if you need some guidance or a little extra motivation
• Setting up an area at home to do yoga or other forms of exercise you can do with little or no equipment
Strive for about 30–45 minutes of moderate to intense exercise 4–5 times per week. However, check with your doctor or a Los Angeles spine surgeon first if you have existing spine issues.
More time spent at home can mean less attention to posture. This can be a problem for your backbone, since poor posture throws off spinal alignment and increases pressure on spinal discs and spine-supporting muscles. You may not have a choice about spending more time at home right now, but you can still improve your posture by:
• Sitting up straight and avoiding slouching and excessive leaning when sitting
• Setting up a sit-to-stand workstation at home if you’re now working from home
• Taking breaks when sitting for longer periods
• Using a lumbar support cushion to make chairs at home more spine-friendly
Social distancing has made food delivery the new normal. Also, extra time spent at home puts you in closer proximity to your fridge and the temptations inside. These are just some of the reasons you may find it more difficult to manage your weight right now. However, excess weight can put more pressure on your spine and contribute to spine-related discomfort. Reduce your risk of packing on the pounds while socially distancing by staying focused on healthy eating habits that could involve:
• Opting for fruit, granola bars, yogurt cups, and other healthy snacks between meals
• Drinking plenty of water
• Finding ways to incorporate fresh fruits, veggies, spices, lean meats, fatty fish, and other nutrient-packed things into home-cooked meals
Social distancing may also mean you’re not as involved with sports and other physical activities that would normally require regular stretching. Even so, it’s still important to keep stretching often. Stretching can reduce your risk of experiencing painful muscle spasms or tension that could extend to your lower back or neck areas. Treat yourself to a thorough stretch 2–3 times a day or more to keep your spine and its parts flexible.
Taking care of your spine every day can prevent injury and pain down the road. The spinal health experts at The Spine Institute can offer a wealth of information about everything from back injury prevention to what to expect if you have a lumbar foraminotomy. Los Angeles residents should call one of our knowledgeable representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.