How to avoid back pain as we age

Iowa Park, TX(Zone 7b)

I recently heard a radio interview with a doctor who was discussing a number of age related health issues. He said that as people get older they tend to only stand up and sit down (the two positions we are in most of our waking life) so the muscles in the back tend to shrink and harden. Then when the person does something, turns a certain way or picks up something and over extends the muscles, the person ends up with back pain.
We need to remind our young people to continue stretching and moving their bodies (like they did when getting ready for sports or gym class in high school.) Stretching keeps the muscles long and flexible. Also they say "long muscles are lean muscles" (stretched and toned muscles tend to not collect fat.)

So many people have back problems nowadays, we need to warn the next generation how to avoid it as they get older.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Good advice.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

I really don't like doing my daily weight workouts, but if I go any longer than a week without doing them, I can hardly move. LOL So, I do them 4x/wk.

Iowa Park, TX(Zone 7b)

Yep, same here. If I don't stretch, do deep knee bends (squats), etc each day then I start getting stiff (and feel my age.)

Gardening is the fun way to exercise. : )

Dolan Springs, AZ(Zone 9a)

It's so true, that we tend to be less active if we don't make a conscious effort! Why does getting older have to mean acting older?
Last month I decided that it was time to drop about 10 stubborn pounds, and since I am not good at repititious excercises like push ups, sit ups, etc. (in my 40's, I'm ready to just accept this about myself!) I decided to just do it, and began doing jumping jacks. Just jumping jacks, until breathing was difficult. I did that several times a day, bringing my stamina up. I moved up to jumping rope, but then quit using the rope, and just jumped until my breathing was heavy. Add some skipping, jumping twists, and jogging in place, and in other words, with no equipment, I have increased my work out time, my stamina, my endurance, etc., and am already losing the inches, just by looking like a goofball for 5-15 minutes at a time, several times a day. And the activity never fails to give me a little emotional 'up', similar to coffee, but not as easy:>)
I have noticed as a nice side affect that the muscles of my back are stronger or firmer, because I don't get as much back pain as before.
But I still prefer the garden variety of excercise too!

Northeast, AR(Zone 7a)

I've recently begun taking a martial arts class. I always wanted to learn self-defense, so now I found someone to teach me. We're also doing the P90X workout together.

And don't forget the importance of a professional massage. My massage therapist said a lot of back pain actually comes from the stomach muscles being too tight. We tend to slump forward, shortening the stomach muscles which support the back. A good massage can relax these muscles and easy a lot of back pain. If you have a stability ball, do a "backbend" over it; this helps lengthen those contracted ab muscles too, which in turn will support the back better.

Monroe, WI(Zone 4b)

Or do a good ab workout once a week. And I am NOT talking situps.

High Springs, FL(Zone 8b)

All good ideas! As mentioned already, you have to keep everything moving. Several years ago my MIL developed a pinched nerve in her hip. She didn't want to work through the pain and spent most of her time sitting still and getting progressively worse. Now she's totally unable to walk and can't take care of most of her physical needs without assistance.

For over 16 years I went to the chiropractor several times a year for my back and at one point, took joint supplements for a while because of a weird knee issue. Then 2 years ago I joined a weekly yoga/pilates class and let me tell you, it has changed my life! Even only going once a week made a huge difference a very short time. I have not been back to the chiropractor and stopped taking the joint supplements. Plus, I'm way more limber and flexible than I ever was before.

Getting older means that our bodies are going to ache more often and won't be as agile, but that doesn't mean we need to stop trying!

Iowa Park, TX(Zone 7b)

Yoga is an excellent choice because you stretch and limber up gradually. And martial arts will certianly help a person limber up and get prepared for the unexpected. I need to join a class also because of distractions here at home (chores and projects around the house/farm which keep me from consistently exercising.)

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Ditto everybody about keep moving, do strength training, and be sure to include abdominal and posture exercises.
I found that going to a CLASS keeps me going regularly because someone else decides when it is and I can't just put it off or it would never get done. Plus there are people to say Hi to.
A good instructor checks your form to make sure you move correctly. For example, ours make a big deal about how we squat. Stick your butt way out back, don't stick your knees way out front. With ab exercises, keep your back flat on the floor; if you are arching then modify the exercise until you are stronger.

I work in a library with lots of computers for the patrons. Its shocking to look at how people slouch on the computer. (More shocking when I find myself doing it!)

I've been going 2-3 X week to a class, using weights with a music track, only once had a minor muscle pain (bad form) and my only current complaint is from using the computer too much (right wrist/shoulder)

Iowa Park, TX(Zone 7b)

Wow Sallyg, you are doing good. A class is the best way to make sure we get enough exercise, no doubt. If we could just slow time down so we didn't age ... that would help too. LOL!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Yes it would Ladypearl. LOL!

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