We’ve all had to deal with it at some point in our lives, and we all hate it. No, we’re not talking about reruns of Keeping up with the Kardashians – we’re talking about back pain. (We’re actually not sure which is more annoying, to be honest.)
Did you know 80% of Canadian men will experience at least one episode of back pain in their lives? The good news is that fixing back pain can be as easy as getting off your butt, especially if you work at a desk.
Sitting can be punishing on the spine. Research shows that even regular exercise doesn’t get rid of back pain from prolonged sitting. It doesn’t take much to throw your back out, as most guys know. Weak core and back muscles, couch potato-ing, frontal belly overhang, smoking and improper or heavy lifting all contribute to chronic aches and pains.
Doctors say the solution lies in getting out of your chair at least every 30 minutes throughout the day. A 2015 study led by the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute found sedentary behaviour (i.e. sitting) was associated with higher risk of death from heart disease and cancer, and a 90% increased risk of developing diabetes. All that post-work exercise doesn’t matter for squat if you’re sitting all day. Men are 79% more likely to die from heart disease and 40% more likely to die of cancer than women. When you add all these numbers up, standing up more often doesn’t sound like too much of a trade-off, does it?
Taking pressure off your spine is key to alleviating back pain, so take a few minutes out of your day and show your back you care.
To start, try this one simple move just twice a day:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend your knees slightly.
- Bend forward from your waist towards the floor. Let your arms dangle loosely and relax your upper torso.
- Breathe in and relax your back even more with every exhale.
- Stay in that pose for up to a minute. As you come back up, imagine each vertebrae stacking one-by-one along your spine.
Remember: Most back pain should start to lessen with frequent movement and exercise. If you’re experiencing lasting pain, always talk to a doctor.
1 Back Pain, Statistics Canada. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-619-m/2006003/4053542-eng.htm. Accessed May 10, 2015.
2 Sitting for too long can kill you, even if you exercise: study. http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/sitting-for-too-long-can-kill-you-even-if-you-exercise-study-1.2918678. Accessed May 10, 2015.