Back injuries are one of the top causes of missed work in the United States. Improper lifting, stress, and athletic/workout injuries are all common causes of stress on the lower portion of your back. If you want to reduce your risk of injuring your back, or any other body part for that matter, you need to protect your lower back and your risk of an injury will decrease. If you have questions on how to perform certain exercises or have concerns, visit a physical therapist and have them guide you through a workout.
Warm-Up Before Raising Your Intensity
Warming up for 5 to 10 minutes before you ease into your workout, is the best way to prevent muscle injury, especially in the core and lower back areas. Stretching, walking on a treadmill, or mild calisthenics are all acceptable forms of warm-up exercises. During your warm-up time, the exercises you use will begin to stretch the muscles and connective tissues. This increases circulation to the muscles giving them access to the additional oxygen and nutrients they will need once you start to exercise at a more vigorous pace.
Always Use Proper Form When Lifting
Proper lifting techniques are essential if you plan on lifting free weights or are using machines. Your feet should be shoulder length apart and your back straight. To properly lift any weight, keep it close to the body and lift straight up with your legs. If you begin to feel any stress on your back or core, stop the lift and readjust your position. Lifting during your exercise program is just the same as lifting outside of the gym. Proper technique is essential. Taking a few minutes to assess your weight and assess your form is the best way to prevent a lower back injury.
Wear a Weight Belt
Wearing a weight belt is one of the best ways to stabilize your back during a workout. It offers support to the area of your back that often bears the most weight while you are moving or shifting heavy objects. Having a weight belt in place also supports the core muscles of the stomach as well. Weight belts come in various sizes so you will need to try them on before you purchase one. It should be snug and secure without shifting along your hips as you move.
Exercise is meant to keep you in shape, strong, and looking your best. Overdoing it can lead to muscle strain. With lower back strains being one of the most common injuries among athletes, knowing these three tips and putting them into practice will help you exercise safely and reduce your risk of injury. If you have questions about additional ways to lower your risk of injury, talk to the physical therapists at PTLink Physical Therapy today.