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At the moment it is understandable that many of us (including me) are incredibly stressed right now. But one of the most powerful tools according to Paul McKenna in Woman & Homeis making a daily list of things that we appreciate. So, I will kick of with number …
1. Get a notebook or open a file on your computer, and each day, add at least five things to the list. Then any time you are feeling really stressed read back through what you have written. I’ve ordered a notebook today and plan on trying this straight away.
2. Try and work it out, if you can’t manage an indoor workout then go out for a walk in the fresh air, or do some housework to take your mind off it.
3. Try breathing exercises, whereby you breath out for longer than you breathe in. There are a number of ones you can follow online. The theory is that when you breathe out you signal your nervous system to instruct your body to calm down.
4. During the COVID-19 lockdown it’s been easy to eat all the wrong things especially for anyone who is self isolating but this can have a negative effect on your health, so try eating more healthily. Last week I started a diary of the meals I had cooked during the week so I can look at what we had last week and go for something different this week.
5. Listen to some calming music. Just try and switch off completely by sitting or lying somewhere very peaceful and listen to some lovely soothing music.
6. Apparently we have been watching lots of nature programs during the last few months as they have found these have a very calming effect on children. So, do the same as the younger ones and get yourself in a comfy chair, relax and watch a nature program.
7. Make sure you are drinking enough water every day. Being dehydrated can cause a multiple of different problems. You should try and drink around 2.7 litres for women, and 3.7 litres for men.
8. Read a book, there are so many free and very cheap books to read online now or paperbacks you can buy for a reasonable price. I’ve become hooked on my books and find they help me go to sleep at night. If your having a really bad day there is no harm in binge reading, like binge watching a tv program. If it’s a good book just get yourself comfortable and read it from start to finish.
9. Finally, just laugh and I mean really laugh. It helps to relieve stress big time. If you can’t think of anything to make you laugh you can go online and find funny videos, in particular the animal ones which will definitely have you in stitches.
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The best way to prevent lower back pain is to exercise regularly and engage in strength training so that your core and back muscles are strong. A regular stretching program to keep you limber will help too. However, if you already have back pain, contrary to popular belief, you still can and should start exercising to strengthen your body. You just need to take it slower and easier… but you need to exercise.
In most cases, it’s the lower back that will hurt. So, the muscles that you want to strengthen will be your glutes, hip adductors, core, abs and back muscles. The goal here will be to challenge them gradually so that they get stronger over time. You can’t just bang out a set of deadlifts with heavy poundage and expect to get away with it.
You’ll need to take it slow so that you don’t aggravate your condition. In this article, you’ll be given a few exercises that are very beneficial for back pain sufferers. Most are low impact and will not aggravate your condition.
It’s also essential to get approval from your doctor before engaging in any exercise routine when you’re suffering from a bad back.
Planks There are many different types of planks such as forearm planks, side planks, knee planks, reverse planks and many more. Have a variety of them in your training so that you target different muscles. These planks will strengthen your core… and a strong core is the first step to preventing back pain, or reducing it.
Bridging This is one of the best back exercises out there, and yet it’s often neglected. Lie on your back and bend your knees so that your feet form a right angle. Now push off your heels and raise your hips off the ground. Your knees, hips and shoulders should be aligned and form a straight line. Lower your hips and repeat again. Do this for 10 to 12 reps.
Deadlifts This is one of the cornerstones of weight lifting. It requires good technique and proper form. You can learn how to do it from a trainer at the gym or by watching videos online. Always remember not to use too much weight, and not to jerk. Slow, controlled reps is what you’re aiming for. The weight you use should allow you to do about 10 to 12 reps. If all you can lift is a bar with no weights, then that will do. You’re not trying to build mass or become a bodybuilder. The goal is just to strengthen your back so that you’re not in pain. You can progress over time.
Bird dog Similar to the plank, and challenging too. There is minimal impact. Get into a kneeling position with your palm on the floor. Now, straighten your right leg outwards and above the ground, while you straighten your left arm outwards too. Now you’ll just be balancing on your left knee and right arm. Hold the position for about 5 to 10 seconds… or longer if possible. Now repeat on the other side. If you do these four exercises regularly, you’ll strengthen your back and core, which in turn will make you less susceptible to back pain. Do note that you should have a day or two of rest after training. Approach your training with a slow and steady mindset, and you’ll be stronger in a month or two.
There are lots of websites and YouTube videos on all of the above exercises if you find it easier to watch how to do them. Little steps is the perfect way to start these and only after you have spoken to your GP.