As the days get shorter and we spend more time indoors, anyone can do simple exercises to stretch and strengthen our bodies.
You may not immediately think so, but the winter can still be a great time to maintain the flexibility and overall spine health you’ve achieved during the warmer seasons of the year. Even if you don’t have any pain, getting – and keeping – strength and flexibility should be a great goal for all of us.
As the days get shorter and we spend more time indoors, anyone can do simple exercises to stretch and strengthen our bodies. You can gently swing your arms around in circles to increase shoulder flexibility or you can sit on the ground with your legs straight in front of you and move your ankle up and down (like an ankle pump) to help increase flexibility in your lower leg. “The best tip I can offer for getting and staying flexible is to do something, but remember do not OVERDO it,” said orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Jaideep Chunduri from Beacon Orthopaedics. He also suggested that when you are stretching, you want to feel a moderate sense of effort – but not pain. He further encouraged starting with a small number of repetitions, then and gradually increase that number throughout the cold winter months. Dr. Chunduri also specifically mentioned the importance of maintaining your spine health.
- Be cautious when lifting heavy objects – Try not to bend at the waist when picking something up off the ground, instead bend your knees with proper squat form. Also, keep objects close to your body when carrying or moving items to reduce stress on your spine.
- Stretch daily – try to stretch your hamstrings, shoulders, back and legs to maintain and keep flexibility.
- Work on your core strength – perform abdominal bracing and core work to build proper strength and stability.
- Practice abdominal bracing (contracting the muscles around your spine to create a rigid midsection) -- engage your core throughout the day when you sit, lift, walk, etc.
- Never “push through pain” – if you experience any back pain, take rest breaks and allow time for proper cool down and/or healing.
- Maintain a healthy weight -- excessive weight can place undue physical stress on the spine.
- Stay in motion -- Keep the spine activated, but if you must sit for long periods at work, take frequent breaks.
- Stand whenever possible -- to keep your back flexible and limber.
- Drink a lot of water.
Dr. Chunduri and the experts at Beacon Orthopaedics counsel not to let the pain get so bad that you require medical attention. According to research done at the University of Pennsylvania, many people begin noticing back pain right around the time they turn 40 years old. This is most often a result of inflammation or pressure on the nerves. Age-related back pain may be caused by degenerative discs or joints, spinal stenosis, and a slipped vertebra (spondylolisthesis). So exercise and stretching are important, but the experts at Beacon Orthopaedics counsel not to let the pain get so bad that you require medical attention.
Beacon Orthopaedics treats local patients of all ages for various injuries and ailments – including those affecting the spine or mobility. You can always schedule a diagnostic appointment at any one of the area Beacon locations. If you get injured, you can readily go to one of their Saturday morning injury clinics or urgent care facilities throughout the area.
Go to www.beaconortho.com or call 513-354-3700 to find a nearby Beacon location or to schedule an appointment.