Is your back strong enough? While many of us consider ourselves to be fitness-minded people, back fitness is something that’s largely overlooked. It takes a strong back to lead a strong life! In fact, a weak back is one of the most common causes of back pain and injury. The good news is that back exercises can strengthen the back, insulate the body against some common injuries and help us to enjoy healthier lives. Take a look at the benefits of back exercises.
Here’s What the Sedentary Lifestyle Is Doing to Our BacksThere’s a back crisis that nobody is talking about enough! If you work at a desk, there’s a good chance that your back is already suffering. Here’s a look at what happens to the back when you live a sedentary lifestyle:
While everyone needs to focus attention on their backs, people who work long hours behind desks and computer screens need to be particularly vigilant about stretching their backs properly at regular intervals. Regular stretching should also be accompanied by back-focused strength exercises several times per week. Even people who aren’t suffering from back pain yet may find that integrating back exercises into their workouts allows them to increase lean mass in the body to boost weight loss and wellness efforts! This is often a “missing key” that people don’t realize can allow them to burn more fat even when they’re not exercising.
A 2019 study that looked at back pain among 64 employees at a call center who spent the majority of their working hours sitting sheds some light on just how dire the situation is for most people in the workforce today. Within the study group, 75 percent reported some level of chronic or acute back pain. Researchers were able to conclude that there is a strong association between prolonged sitting behaviors and lower-back pain.
A Deeper Look at the Benefits of Strengthening Your BackIt’s important to remember that a strong back equals a strong spine. This is so important because the spine plays a role in supporting our entire musculoskeletal system. Any sort of misalignment or blockage in the spine can create symptoms that spread throughout the entire central nervous system. When we strengthen our back muscles, we’re helping to keep our spinal joints free from blockages and restrictions. This can help to take some of the stress and tension off of our delicate spines.
Breathing BenefitsOne of the more surprising benefits of doing back exercises is that it can actually help to improve breathing! Proper breathing can help with everything from increasing focus to boosting mood. Here’s a look at the connection between a strong back and healthier breathing:
Spinal BenefitsA strong back can help to improve spinal alignment. Unfortunately, doing everyday tasks without properly stretching can cause your muscles to begin to “draw up” to create asymmetry. This means that the body is pulled to one side based on your movements. The spine then follows in the same direction. This results in a misaligned spine. When we focus on strengthening the back, we learn to make even, balanced movements that draw the muscles and spine into balance.
Better FlexibilityBack exercises boost flexibility and range of motion. When we focus on making our backs work as effectively as possible, we’re ensuring that every movement we make is a careful movement that allows our muscles to move naturally without restriction. Lack of flexibility is one of the biggest causes of injury! Working on flexibility through stretching and building strength decreases the likelihood of muscle pulls or tears.
Relief for Back PainStrengthening the back is often the antidote to back pain. When you have a weak back, the clock is ticking until your back is injured. While you may be at the point where a weak back has already caused pain, it’s still important to work on back strength when bouncing back from a back injury. Creating a strong, healthy back enables the body to heal itself by relieving tension caused by compensating for back weakness. In addition to healing your back, back stretches and exercises can “save” other parts of your body before they endure the same painful fate as your back due to the way you’re relying on other muscles and tendons to compensate for a weak back.
DetoxificationBack exercises are great for detoxifying the body! In fact, issues like stress, headaches, reduced immune response, and general body pain could all be tied to a tight, weak back. Back exercises focused on stretching are especially effective for detoxifying the body. When we stretch, our blood flow increases. This creates a cascade of oxygen-rich blood rushing through our bodies to reach the muscles and organs that may not get much oxygen when we’re stuck doing something like sitting behind a desk for long hours every day. That oxygen also reaches the brain to create a sudden “brain boost.” As the oxygen populates the body, various toxins that have built up in the body’s soft tissue while you were sitting still are dissipated.
What Type of Exercise Helps to Strengthen the Back?There are many common, everyday exercises that offer big back benefits! For instance, yoga has many poses that are focused on the back. Many people also find that weightlifting and strength training offer advantages for strengthening the back. Rowing, pull-ups, and pull-downs are all common back exercises.
Of course, there is a balance. Doing too many new exercises too quickly without proper guidance can actually strain the back. What’s more, some people have preexisting back issues that they aren’t aware of when they start new workout routines. An exercise that may work for someone without a specific back issue could create a serious injury for someone with an undiagnosed back issue. If you’re ready to learn more, book your appointment today!