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5 Ways to Lessen Back Pain

5 Ways to Lessen Back Pain

As you’ve aged throughout the years, you’ve probably noticed a significant increase in the amount of back pain you experience on a semi-regular basis. While some discomfort is inevitable as you grow older, there are measures you can take to minimize the stress you put on your back throughout your day. The worst thing you can do for back pain is ignore it or try to “tough it out”; you’ll just end up doing more harm than good. If your back pain starts to become so debilitating that getting around becomes a hassle, you need to do something about it before it’s much too late.

Stop Slouching

You’ve heard this ever since you were a kid at the dinner table: Sit up straight! Slouching causes undue and avoidable stress on your neck, spine, shoulders, and neck – and it makes us look like cavemen. Of course, sitting up straight takes a conscious effort at all times – especially when watching TV or clicking around on the Internet. Along with the various exercises that can help improve your posture, you should get in the habit of consciously sitting up tall with your shoulders square. Hopefully, after a while it will become second nature!

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Assess Your Sleep Situation

If you spend sleepless nights tossing and turning in bed trying to get comfortable, your mattress might be the problem. There are many factors that go into choosing the right mattress, such as the amount of support you need as well as whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach. While there are definitely measures you can take to avoid back pain, you can only do so much. Make sure that when you lay down each night, you’re getting the comfort you deserve.

Get Active

I previously mentioned the importance of exercising, but it’s not enough to just stretch a little bit and assume your back pain will just melt away. A 30-minute a day regimen of low-impact exercise, such as walking, swimming, or practicing yoga, could be all that you need to make a difference in the severity of your back pain. Not only that, but you’ll probably end up losing a little bit of weight, which in turn will put less stress on your back. However, like I said, don’t just think that you can laze around for the rest of the day just because you’ve done your workout routine for the day. Being active means staying active. Do everything you can to avoid long periods of sitting or laying around if you don’t want your back pain to return.

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Herbal Remedies

The reason herbal remedies is so far down on the list is because I don’t want you to think you can simply take a couple pills and feel right as rain. And I definitely don’t want you to believe that over the counter pain pills actually do anything more than mask your symptoms. The reason these remedies are called supplements is because they do just that: supplement the other actions you need to take in order to alleviate back pain. Anti-inflammatory supplements such as ginger, turmeric, and capsaicin come in creams, pills, or even teas, and can give you the comfort needed to take further steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

Meditate and Be Mindful

It sounds cheesy, but meditation can create a certain harmony between your mind and your body that will certainly help out when you’re feeling frustrated due to back pain. Although the jury is still out on whether or not meditation actually alleviates physical symptoms, it does allow you to be more mindful of how you go about your life on a daily basis.

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As mentioned before, being mindful simply means making a conscious effort to care for your back at all times. It means avoiding strenuous movements and activities, as well as lifting objects that are heavier than you know you should be lifting. Remaining conscious of the fact that your body “isn’t what it used to be” can be tough to do, but it’s definitely better than being laid up in a hospital bed!

Featured photo credit: Twitter 365 Project – Day 30 / lu_lu via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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