Spine Health and the importance of exercise

Aug 08, 2019
 

People often don’t appreciate how important exercise is for the spine both in terms of building strength and increasing resilience. Incorporating simple stretches and movements into your day is a great habit to get into whether you currently suffer with lower back pain, you have in the past or you just want to protect yourself against future problems.

But the methods I show you in the video above don’t concentrate on the traditional fitness exercises you might normally expect. Instead we’ll look at three ways in which exercise can help to support your spine both now and in the future:

  1. Transferable skills
  2. Building resilience
  3. Activating the glute muscles

Back and spine strengthening exercises

If you suffer from a weakness in your spine, traditional exercise can cause stress to build up, creating pain or discomfort when undertaking certain movements. By instead concentrating on specific exercises that have been designed to support the spine you’ll be able to...

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How to improve your hip flexibility

Jul 25, 2019
 

Hip flexibility is important for low back pain, Lordosis and building core strength & stability. It helps your body function properly and can reduce the risk of muscle imbalances and pain. Knowing how to improve your hip flexibility is therefore a key part of keeping your joints healthy.

The importance of flexible hips

For this blog I’m going to focus on its benefits for posture particularly, Lordosis.

  1. Many tight muscles are protecting an unstable joint. In order to improve Lordosis, stretching is essential but together with the right exercises to stabilise the hip and spine.
  2. If the muscles of your hips are stiff and tight they don’t absorb shock very well. This can make simple tasks like walking and running detrimental to your joint health. Not because they are bad in and of themselves but because they cause more shock.
  3. As your joints become more stable and they are able to absorb more shock this reduces pressure on your low back and allows your lumbar spine to...
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The importance of exercise for low back pain part 4

Jul 16, 2019
 

Exercise for low back pain should be therapeutic rather than for fitness, this stage comes next. As your back becomes painful your body will tighten muscles to protect the spine but this creates a muscle imbalance.

Why does your body create a muscle imbalance?

The quick answer, to protect the spine short term but this creates a long-term problem. The psoas muscle becomes tight because it’s closest to the spine and offers short-term stability to spine. If this tightness stays long term it can put unnecessary stress on the spine and trigger back pain.

If one muscle tightens its opposite muscle relaxes

If your psoas becomes tight your gluteal muscles (buttocks) become relaxed. The goal of exercise is to readdress this balance, it means relaxing the tight muscles (psoas) with stretches and activating the relaxed muscle (gluteals) with exercise.

What stretches loosen the psoas muscle?

The psoas starts each side of your lumbar spine and up to the mid-back and diaphragm. It ends on...

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7 stretches to help alleviate Scoliosis

Jul 01, 2019
 

Scoliosis is a posture that creates a s-curve in your spine. There are many reasons for Scoliosis, from genetics to osteoporosis of the vertebrae. This blog isn’t discuss why you might have it, but what you can do about it.

 

Stretches for Scoliosis

 

My last blog was about the best exercises for scoliosis and today’s is about stretching for Scoliosis. On their own exercises or stretching can help, but both together is much better. The goal of stretching is to reduce Scoliosis, slow it and reduce muscles tension. There are many stretches that will help and you can learn 7 of them in the tutorial above. With these 7 stretches there are simple principles to follow;

 

  • Stretch in the opposite direction
  • Stretch your hips and shoulders
  • Stretch over head

 

Stretch in the opposite direction

 

If you have Scoliosis you’ll know which way your spine curves. Stretch it in the opposite direction to lengthen the tighter muscles. It will also help...

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The importance of exercise for low back pain part 3

Jun 14, 2019
 

Exercise for low back pain is an important treatment to make your back better. In part 1 we talked about what is Exercise for Low Back Pain and part 2 was about Exercise as Rehabilitation. Now you’ll about exercise as way of protecting your back.

 

Your low back

 There are two main parts to your low back, your pelvis and spine. The aim of Exercise for low back pain is to protect your spine using your muscles, tendons and fascia. To protect it they should stiffen, creating a structure to hold it in place. The better is can stiffen the more protection your muscles, tendons and fascia can offer.

 

Your muscles, tendons and fascia

 Your core muscles are the ones that protect your spine, tendons attach your muscles to bone and fascia hold all your muscles in position. Your core muscles should all work together, so exercises that try to isolate single muscles (like sit-ups and crunches) don’t protect your spine.

 

 Your Core

 ...

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5 exercise to help improve Scoliosis

May 29, 2019
 

Scoliosis is a condition that creates an S-shaped curve in your spine as you look from the back. How to treat scoliosis depends on how severe your curve is. The main aims for treatment is to slow or stop the progression of your Scoliosis, relieve breathing difficulties and other symptoms.

Regular exercise is a great way to keep your core strong, help maintain better posture and relieve these symptoms. It’s also important to understand that there are better choices than “traditional fitness exercise”. Fitness exercises can overload the spine and put unnecessary stress on the muscles.

Scoliosis exercises

Performing exercises that are more specific to Scoliosis will protect your spine while reducing the risk of progression. These exercises should strengthen your whole core and stabilise the hip and shoulder joints around it.

Exercises should…

  1. Encourage better balance
  2. Contract multiple muscles of the core

All your exercises don’t have to do both of...

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How to overcome lower back pain: The importance of exercise part 2

May 16, 2019
 

Low back pain is a condition that can be so crippling you’re afraid to move. This however, is a bad idea. Of course there is a time when rest is essential but when pain allows movement is essential to your recovery.

Exercise for low back pain

By exercise for low back pain I don’t traditional fitness exercise, I mean exercise for low back pain. They are 2 different forms of exercise, traditional fitness exercise aim to fatigue the body and isn’t pain when pain and injury is involved. Exercise for low back pain challenges muscles but doesn’t fatigue them.

Movement for Rehabilitation

It also includes movement and in many cases the movement that triggered your pain. These movements should include everyday postures and positions that you’re already doing but doing them correctly. Moving better can reduce pressure on your low back and therefore reduce risk of low back pain.

Movements to improve include:

  1. Lifting
  2. Carrying
  3. Pushing
  4. Pulling
  5. Rotating
  6. Getting Up
  7. ...
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How do I tighten my abdominal muscles?

Apr 30, 2019
 

A six-pack is made visible by a low body fat percent; tight abdominal muscles come from a different method.  Your core muscles tighten when you can activate your entire core musculature.

The best exercises are ones that activate many core muscles. Popular exercises like sit-ups and crunches don’t make the grade, because they focus on single muscles and increases wear and tear on the spine. These best exercises are planks and side planks, because they activate your whole core.

If you are able to hold and plank or side plank for 1-minute or over I suggest adapting the exercise by lifting an arm (the plank) or leg (side plank). As you lift and arm or leg your focus is to keep centered hips.

What to look out for during the plank and arm raise

  • Do your hips shift to the left or right?
  • Do your hips rotate to the left or right?

What to look out for during the side plank and leg raise

  • Do your hips drop?
  • Do your shoulders roll forward?

If you happen to do any of these it...

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How to overcome low back pain - The importance of exercise part 1

Apr 18, 2019
 

Lower back pain causes can be numerous and how to treat low back pain can be confusing. What is becoming clear however, is the importance of exercise for low back pain. It’s important for me to say, I don’t mean traditional fitness exercise that you see in gyms. I mean exercise for low back pain, many of the principles are the same, even some of the exercises are the same but you’re not trying to fatigue yourself to within an inch of your life.

What is exercise for low back pain?

Once the pain has reduced, it bridges the gap from injury or pain to full health and/or fitness. When I coach people with a bad back they are generally nervous or anxious about exercise and want to avoid the problem area. They think exercise is going to make their back worse and this is only true if they start with traditional fitness exercise or the wrong exercises for low back pain.

What is the right exercise for lower back pain?

The first thing to get right is your exercise and recovery...

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29 everyday and exercise tips to get better posture: Lordosis, Scoliosis & Kyphosis

Apr 04, 2019
 

Maintain a better posture is essential for joint health and overall health. It reduces stress on the joint and surrounding tissues, helping you reduce risk of injury.

In this blog I’ll be sharing 15 everyday tips to help improve your posture. In the video you’ll learn 14 more tips to improve your posture with exercise.

Posture

Posture is both static and dynamic; static posture is how to hold yourself when sitting and standing. Dynamic posture is how to hold yourself as you move. Both are as important as each other and you’ll be healthier if you’re good as both.

Your spine

The spine is at the centre of your posture and it has 3 curves at your lower back, mid to upper back and neck. These curves need to be optimal in order to minimize the stresses to the spine. If any of these curves become exaggerated extra stress gets placed on that part.

3 posture deformities: Lordosis, scoliosis & kyphosis

All 3 postures affect a different part of the spine and all come...

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