Are you aware that several of your daily habits might be causing harm to your back health? As you age, certain lifestyle habits can contribute to the deterioration of your back, leading to chronic pain and limited mobility. In this article, we explore seven common unhealthy habits that you must avoid to maintain good back health.
- Unhealthy Eating Habits
It is a widely known fact that an unhealthy diet leads to weight gain and other health complications. But did you know that your food choices can also cause inflammation and trigger unwanted weight gain, which in turn puts stress on your back? To build up your back’s strength, you need certain nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus, which you can obtain from fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Furthermore, obesity can wreak havoc on your back, leading to added stress and pressure. Practicing healthy eating habits and maintaining a healthy weight can significantly reduce your risk of back problems.
- Poor Sleep Habits
Your sleep position and choice of mattress and pillow can play a crucial role in your back health. If you sleep on your stomach, avoid using a super-soft pillow or no pillow at all. Back sleepers, on the other hand, can benefit from placing a pillow under both knees to maintain the natural curvature of their backs. It is also essential to choose a mattress and pillow with optimal firmness and height to support your head and back. A lumpy, worn-out mattress can cause back pain and discomfort, leading to chronic problems in the long run.
Did you know that smoking can triple your chances of experiencing lower back pain? Smoking decreases blood flow to the spine, leading to weaker bones and osteoporosis. Apart from back problems, smoking is terrible for your overall health and must be avoided at all costs.
- Improper Running Form
Running is an excellent way to get your daily dose of exercise, but it can cause lower back pain if done incorrectly. Straining your muscles, curving your spine, or having a herniated disk are common problems that arise from improper running form. Your spinal discs absorb the shock of each stride, and over time, they can cause pain and decay, resulting in back problems.
- Skipping the “McGill Big 3” Exercises
The McGill Big 3 exercises – side planks, bird dogs, and modified curl-ups – help with spinal stability and are recommended by experts to alleviate low back pain. Lack of stability can contribute to pain, and doing these exercises can provide much-needed relief. It is also essential to avoid exercises like standard situps that could trigger low back pain during movement.
- Sitting Cross-Legged
Crossing your legs or sitting with your foot underneath your butt can cause your pelvis to tilt, overworking your spine. This habit can cause discomfort in your shoulder and lead to long-term back problems. Avoid crossing your legs and try sitting with your feet flat on the ground.
- Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle
Sitting for prolonged periods without moving around can cause stiffness in your back and contribute to poor posture. To maintain good back health, it is essential to incorporate light exercise and stretches into your daily routine. Even taking a short walk or stretching for a few minutes can go a long way in keeping your back healthy.
Several lifestyle habits can harm your back as you age, but making simple changes to your daily routine can make a significant difference. Maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, avoiding smoking, using proper running form, doing spine-stabilizing exercises, sitting correctly, and staying active are all crucial to good back health. By adopting these habits and avoiding the unhealthy ones, you can ensure that your back stays healthy