1. Frequent Mobility in the Day…Prolonged sitting results in negative effects on our body such as muscle stiffness, back pain, neck tightness, and decreased motion. One way to counteract the effects of sitting is by incorporating more movement throughout the day.
Increased mobility is critical during the winter time where we spend more time indoors and as result may not be as physically active. Some examples of how to get more exercise in the day include the following; getting up every 30 minutes to complete neck range of motion exercises to minimize cervical strain, completing several flights of stairs during the commercial breaks while watching television, and walking all the aisles before starting to shop for groceries at the supermarket. Lastly, if you are going to be in the car for a while try to change the position of your legs and feet frequently to reduce joint stiffness.
2. Proper Warm-Up…Easing into exercise helps prepare the muscles by elevating the body temperature and warming up the appropriate muscles. Completing movement patterns based on the exercises will allow the muscles the necessary time to get ready. Colder temperatures result in the body needing more time to warm-up. Research has shown that static stretching should be avoided and instead focus on dynamic stretching BEFORE exercise. If you are unsure on what to do, feel free to speak to one of our physical therapists in order to develop a program that meets your needs.
3. Proper Mechanics While Shoveling…During the winter time, it is expected that one of the activities that we will need to do is shovel snow. Instead of going directly outside to shovel, try gentle exercises for your legs and back when you are inside as a warm-up. This will prepare you for the task at hand and get the muscles activated. Shoveling frequently results in low back pain due to excessive stress placed on the lumbar spine and overcompensation of the back. One should focus on ergonomics by keeping a neutral spine and taking frequent rest breaks every 10 minutes to avoid stress in the bent over position while shoveling. One way to do so is to alternate shoveling and cleaning the snow off the car which allows for a more frequent change of position. Did you know that hip weakness can be a source of constant back pain?!? That is why hip strengthening is essential in any exercise routine for everyone from the high school athlete to the older adult. If you are seeking appropriate spinal care due to chronic pain, weakness, or other complications, make an appointment with our facility for a thorough evaluation.
It is better to seek treatment early rather than later before the pain further impacts your quality of life. Take action now to prepare for a better tomorrow. To schedule an appointment with one of our therapists, call us today at 201-833-1333.