How Much Sun Is Too Much?
When it comes to sun exposure, it's important to take a moderate approach. Too much can damage our skin (and different skin colours will alter how much sun-time is too much), and too little may leave us deficient in vitamin D. As the summer's coming up, we must be sensible with our sun-loving!
Want a Great Way to Improve Your Balance?
Our balance is key to keeping us upright, doing the things we love. As we age, our sense of balance can worsen unless we challenge it. Good and simple ways to do this include consistent, small exercises like stnading on one leg while you brush your teeth, and 'writing' the alphabet in the air with your foot while you sit (both lower- and upper-case). These simple things will keep your ankles working as well as possible, as you're training them to improve constantly throughout your lifetime.
How Important is Your Mattress?
When choosing a new mattress, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is that a good quality foam, or a denser population of springs are crucial. The main idea is that every area of your body should have its own support- some parts sink lower than others and should all be held properly.
Want to Know the Link Between Smoking and Back Pain?
While it may not seem immediately apparent, there is a link becoming more and more likely between being a smoker and suffering from chronic back pain. This is probably due to the reduction of the integrity of the tissues and the body’s ability to repair itself. We all know that it’s not a good idea to smoke, but this specific set of findings may just help to boost the desire to quit once and for all! Source
Want to Improve your Neck Function?
Having a good night’s sleep is crucial to good health. The pillow you use should support your neck in as neutral a position as possible whether you’re on your side or your back. Modern contoured pillows are ideal as they will support you in either position. You need one which keeps your neck supported when you’re comfortable, so a bit of measurement, and trial and error is usually the way forward!
Want to Know How to Sit Properly?
It’s very important to sit comfortably, whether at work or at home or anywhere you are sedentary for long periods. If your feet don’t touch the floor, then the weight of your legs will pull the top of your pelvis forward (using the quad muscle group) which will increase and stress the lumbar curve. Always use a foot-rest or even just a stack of books to make sure that there’s no forward pulling.
The Best Way to NOT Injure Yourself at this Time of Year...
We’ve all probably gone overboard over the holiday season. Many of us are hitting the road or the gym in an effort to reverse some of the effects of over-indulging. The biggest thing to remember is to start slowly. If you go too hard to quickly, you’re more likely to injure yourself and then stop completely. If you run, start for 5-10 minutes only and see how you feel over the next 48 hours. Then you can incrementally increase your workload as your body gets used to it.
It's very important to maintain flexibility- whilst it may not be useful to get your foot above your head, a basic level of general stretchiness is recommended. If certain muscle groups are particularly tight compared to others, it can give indications as to which areas of your body are working harder than others, which can lead to postural imbalances and future symptoms.
Invest in a good mattress and pillow
Proper support during sleep will influence spine health.
The average individual spends approximately one third of life sleeping, therefore; proper support of the spine and head during this period will strongly influence spine health. A good pillow and mattress will also facilitate more restorative sleep. In some instances an individual may benefit by the use of more the one pillow. There are different types of pillows. When you sleep you do not have conscious control over your body position. A good mattress will support the spine no matter how many times one moves during the night
Think about how you breathe.
Whenever you remember, breathe right into the base of your abdomen- this will automatically make you sit up straight. Deep slow breaths are relaxing, and will protect your back from tight, painful muscles.
Drink lots of water
Aim to drink six to eight cups of non-caffeinated fluid a day.
Good hydration helps the inter-vertebral discs act as effective cushions for the spine, protecting it from impact. It also helps the flow of cerebro-spinal fluid along the spinal column.
A sedentary lifestyle is a recipe for poor health. A modern lifestyle can lead toward being chained to a desk and spending hours in traffic. It is vitally important that we all take the opportunity to walk and stretch regularly throughout the day. Make it a habit to leave your desk regularly!
Eat a healthy diet
Ensure that you nourish your body properly. Being deficient in certain minerals or vitamins will mean that your body doesn’t have the building blocks it needs to maintain proper bone mass and tissue health. Eat a balanced diet- as much fresh food as possible - don’t live on microwave meals!
It may seem like Health & Safety gone mad but it’s very important to lift properly! It’s just not worth chancing it, as many back-pain-sufferers will tell you. In general, don’t attempt anything you think may be too heavy on your own (of course). Bend your knees and hips rather than your spine. Keep loads as close to your body as possible. Or ask somebody bigger and stronger!
Stretch your hamstrings
Your hamstrings are the muscles at the back of your thighs that help flex the knees and extend the hips. In some people, this group can be very tight which restricts the pelvic movement - this in turn increases the stress on the lumbar spine which causes dysfunctional movement. There are researched links between the the length of the hamstring group and lower back pain. Stretch!!