The drive for fitness seems stronger today than ever before. Maybe it has something to do with the new world we live in – with so many jobs becoming increasingly sedentary; we need to get our movement in through other avenues. Some of it most certainly comes from the fact that now more than ever we are cognizant of what low rates of activity and lack of movement can lead to down the line, with rates of heart disease and diabetes being worse than ever before.
Not all exercises are created equal though, and some of the more popular ones may actually be more risky for your back and spine than you may realize. The good news is that there are plenty of exercises that promotes flexibility and stability of your spine. Like an old western, there’s good, there’s bad, and there’s ugly:
- The Good: These exercises strengthen and promote spinal health and stability, and also can help prevent later injury. Pilates training helps to teach your body how to move and support your spine, not just during training, but during everyday activity. Your body learns to support the loads caused by movement and can reduce lower back pain.
- Yoga can help to provide core strength and flexibility in your trunk, while balance exercises strengthen body awareness, reducing risk of falls that could lead to back injury. And while you may be tired of hearing about them, planks are popular for a reason – by engaging and strengthening your core and abs, your back will have the support it needs.
- The Bad: Old-school sit-up have fallen out of favor, while they can strengthen the core, the form can put too much pressure on the neck and upper spine. Done properly, using only your abs and core, they can still be effective. Squats, while great for your legs and lower body, are dangerous if you try to squat too much weight. With perfect form, they are great exercises, so start out light and get your technique right.
- The Ugly: Unless you have perfect technique every time, heavy overhead lifts are incredibly risky. The moment you arch your lower back, there is heavy compression being placed on the vertebrae, risking vertebrae fractures. One of the most-used machines in the gym may also be one of the worst for your back – according to Dr. Mary Ann Wilmarth, the posture used in the incline leg press puts your back in an awkward, flexed position, and of all the leg machines, it has the highest risk for a tear or long-term back injury.
If you choose some of the exercises that may cause damage to your spine and back, it could lead to the need for surgery, which is where we here at Hammill Medical come in. At Hammill, we are a family owned and operated company that specializes in orthopedic implants, spinal implants, and surgical instruments. We don’t just create stock products either – with dedicated prototype manufacturing, in-house design and engineering, and the ability to develop complex, multi-component instruments, we can be the answer for all spinal and orthopedic repair needs.
Contact us today for a quote or more information on our capabilities. If you are interested in keeping up with what we do, and the latest developments at Hammill, follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn, and make sure to visit our blog often.