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With July only a few days away, we continue to spend more time in the great outdoors with activities, such as hiking, golfing, gardening, and running.
Being active can help you maintain your flexibility and good posture, build strong bones, and relieve stress. Recreational activities are a great way to enjoy these benefits while having fun. Whether you pick up a garden rake, a golf club or pound the pavement in running shoes, the important thing is to get moving.
Just remember, as you gear up for a fun-filled summer, keep the health of your back in mind!
Here are eight tips to keep your back healthy as you exercise over the coming months:
Before hitting the links or even the back garden, consider a short activity to warm up first, like going for a short walk. Make sure to do gentle stretches to limber up muscles and joints before lifting, digging or swinging that golf club.
Learn the Proper Technique
Learn the correct technique for your activity, right from the beginning. Poor technique can cause injury to joints and muscles. For example, be sure to kneel, not bend, when planting your garden. For golfers, take professional lessons to rid yourself of bad habits in your golf swing that could hurt your back.
Maximize Your Flexibility
Maintaining good mobility for muscles and joints will contribute to your athletic ability and help prevent injury. Restrictions in muscle and joint function can hamper your technique and lead to strains and sprains. If you are a runner, take the time to stretch out your calf and thigh muscles before hitting the road.
Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after physical activity. Remember that once you are thirsty, you are already starting to dehydrate. Dehydration affects your energy level and your physical functioning.
If you have a big day of yard work planned, consider breaking up different activities into smaller chunks to avoid overloading your body. With a return to summer sports, consider a smaller training session first rather than a longer one (ie a trip to the driving range before that first round of golf).
Cooling down after any physical activity is just as important as warming up. Take 20 minutes for a brisk walk or a slow jog, and stretch out your muscles and joints before heading for the shower.
Treat Injuries Promptly
If you suffer an injury or experience pain from your summer recreational activities, ice the area to reduce swelling and inflammation. You can read more about the P-R-I-C-E method here.
Seek Professional Help
If pain persists, consult a chiropractor or health care professional to help you with your recovery. In Ontario, you don’t need a referral to see a chiropractor.
How can chiropractic and massage therapy help with your back pain?
Chiropractic treatment relieves back pain using effective clinical tools like manipulation, mobilization, soft tissue therapy, exercise, patient education and rehabilitation.
Extensively trained in spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), chiropractors are proficient in providing specialized care which has been proven effective in reducing pain, improving function, and decreasing the chances of low back pain becoming a chronic condition.
Ajax chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera can provide education on your spine and posture and create a personalized treatment plan for your low back pain designed to ease pain and lower your risk of recurrence.
Therapeutic massage therapy is also available at our clinic by Ajax massage therapists Rolf Castanheiro and Jessica Raedisch.
Call 905-427-3202 to learn more and book an appointment.
With files from the Ontario Chiropractic Association.Leave a Comment
As you head out to rake your leaves this month, chances are the last thing you’ll be thinking about is your posture. But you should, because an hour or so spent tidying your lawn can have long-term consequences if your body isn’t accustomed to the activity.
Ajax Chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera and the massage therapists at Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage have helped numerous patients overcome injuries, many of which have occurred while working around the home.
“Although raking may seem like an easy task, it’s actually an intensely physical activity,” says Dr. Noble. “To avoid injury, it’s important to make sure you’re performing this task correctly.”
Follow these tips and avoid a backache next time you rake.
Pick the right tool for the job
Is your rake the correct length for your height? Ideally, your rake should be about chin high. If it is too tall or too short, this could lead to improper reaching or bending and potential injury.
Get your body moving before the raking begins
Before you grab the rake, spend five to 10 minutes doing a variety of whole-body stretches. These can include a basic hamstring stretch, shoulder, wrist, and side stretches. For a full list of stretches, click here. Do each of the exercises five times, holding each for 15 seconds. Be sure not to bounce, jerk or strain. It should be a gentle stretch, not a pain.
Ensure proper raking posture
Once you’ve warmed up, keep your back straight while raking and avoid repetitive motions by switching arms and pulling in different directions. This allows you to work out different parts of your body equally.
Remember to bend at the knees when lifting
Whether you’re moving a planter across the deck or lifting a bag of leaves, remember to bend at your knees, not at your waist, and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. As you’re lifting, tighten your abs, straighten your knees and keep your back straight. For turning, you should avoid twisting at the waist by moving your feet instead.
Take frequent breaks
Every 20 minutes or so, pause for a few minutes to catch your breath and stay hydrated. Check your posture and perform a few stretches to ensure that you are maintaining flexibility throughout raking.
If getting in shape or intensifying your exercise routine was one of your goals since gyms reopened earlier this year, you’ve likely spent your fair share of time working out these past few months.
Have you ever wondered why your muscles feel so sore after a workout?
One reason may be delayed onset muscle soreness, otherwise known as DOMS.
Occurring anywhere between 24 to 48 hours after you try a new activity or exercise, or increase your workout intensity, DOMS can reduce your range of motion and muscle strength. This muscle soreness is a sign that your muscles are adapting to new loads.
The lactic acid myth
You may have heard that delayed onset muscle soreness is caused by a buildup of lactic acid. But lactic acid only lasts in your muscles one to two hours after a workout.
Resistance training causes micro-tears of muscle fibres, drawing increased blood flow and inflammation to the area, even leading to mild swelling, which stimulates the pain receptors in the muscle tissue and makes them more sensitive to movement.
The muscle damage is temporary. As muscle rebuilds itself, it gets stronger and can handle heavier loads.
How to reduce the discomfort of muscle soreness
Although DOMS is a natural process that indicates your body is getting stronger, there are ways you can reduce your level of discomfort.
- More exercise may be the best way to ease the soreness. Do a gentle workout such as light cardio, stretching or yoga a day or two after an intense workout. Pick up the intensity once the pain is gone.
- Introduce new exercises over a period of one to two weeks to give your body time to adapt.
- Try longer warmups before your resistance training.
- Take an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts are made from magnesium, which helps relax muscles and improve circulation.
- Mix up your routine. If you do leg exercises one day, work your arms and core the next. This gives each muscle group time to recover.
- Stay hydrated and choose your foods wisely. Remember to drink plenty of water and replenish your electrolytes with a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens and bananas are two excellent options.
How to tell if it’s more serious
There are a few indicators that your pain can be something more serious than DOMS:
- The pain does not diminish after three days.
- The pain is so severe that you cannot carry on with daily tasks.
- The pain is so severe that your legs give out.
- You experience major swelling, redness, discolouration, or intense cramping.
- The pain is very sharp – this could suggest a sprain/strain.
If you are concerned about any of the above, your chiropractor can conduct a thorough assessment and offer non-pharmacological pain management strategies, stretches, or manual treatments. You will be referred to the appropriate medical professional if the cause of pain is out of the scope of chiropractic care.
The chiropractic and massage therapy team at Pickering Village Chiropractic & Massage helps patients build better pathways to overall wellness, as well as relief from back pain and muscle aches. Poor habits and injury can lead to pain that can restrict your ability to work or enjoy your leisure time.
We provide you with more than just chiropractic and massage services, but also the know-how to build better personal wellness habits so that you can be at your best for work or play, every day. Contact our clinic today at 905-427-3202.