Exercises with a focus on legs and core help back pain
How This Helps
Most adults and seniors suffer from
some sort of back pain. Back pain that is caused from a wide array of things,
which can include: getting
older, poor physical fitness, being overweight, heredity, injury or disease,
bad posture, or smoking. Cumbersome and exhausting, everyone wants an
end to back pain, apart from staying away from injury; the best solution for
back pain is often an active lifestyle! Our muscles hold our skeleton in place
and the root causes of back pain often stem from weak(ening) or damaged muscle.
The greatest action to keep muscle nice and strong is exercise! Realistically –
back pain usually translates to moving slowly…or not moving at all, but avoidance behavior initiates a cycle of
weight gain, worsened joint pain, pain catastrophizing, fear of movement
(termed kinesiophobia) and disability. We
shouldn’t avoid movement; we should be avoiding pain, and the only way to make
it go away is through activity! It can be as easy as going bowling,
dancing, golfing, or even just a nice easy stroll around the neighborhood. NNow
more specifically, the easiest way to begin this process (especially if you
currently live a predominantly sedentary lifestyle) is to focus on legs and
core! Strengthening both leg
and core muscles will ultimately help alleviate back pain and prevent any more
pain from creeping in!
First and foremost, one must
remember to not stop doing daily activities such as, cooking, cleaning,
gardening, shopping, and seeing loved ones. These activities get one up and
moving so as not to get stiff. After this, individuals with bad back pain are often
told to keep their core strong and tight to strengthen their back to get rid of
all pain. Although this is true, the fact is – our core is worked every time we
perform any movements athletically. The term core doesn’t only mean our abs,
although it is commonly assumed that the two are synonymous. The core is a
large set of muscles in our midsection that control movement of our limbs and
torso, it just so happens to include the abs, but - the abs are on the outside.
Think like this: the core of an apple is the center with which all other parts
of the apple attach to; the core is not also the skin (abs)! So, in truth an
individual suffering from back pain doesn’t necessarily need to do crunches or
sit ups to work their core – in some cases this can actually be detrimental.
Starting with any movement at all such as simply working the legs or arms can
create tension in the core and therefore strengthen it!
So: start with legs. Our backs sit
directly on top of our legs, and our back ties directly into our core muscles.
Legs muscles and most importantly gluteal muscles (your butt!) hold back muscles
in place, and therefore have a lot to do with pain reduction and strength. It
is beneficial to both strengthen the core AND your legs. Those with back pain
should exercise their legs, but this of course begs the question: what counts
as exercise? Moderate exercise is any movement that raises heart rate, makes
one feel warmer, and creates faster breathing. It has been likened to being
able to speak, but not being able to sing words to a song. Moderate exercise
creates blood flow into muscles and joint cavities, making them less stiff, as
well as any sort of resistance against muscles creates strength. Now which
exercises are best? Any and all that you can do easily, consistently, and have
at least a little fun performing them!
A quick list of popular exercises
that focus on legs:
whether caused from, injury, wear-and-tear, general tightness from sitting all
day, or a whole slew of other causes, makes an individual avoid any movement at all to
dull back pain. This creates stiffness and a weakening of muscles that prolong
and often worsen back pain. Being active can not only help alleviate pain, but
also prevent further pain from occurring. The main focus of this activity
should focus on the legs. Strengthening our legs also strengthens our core,
both muscle groups hold our backs in place. After forcing oneself to keep daily
activities in our schedule, we must challenge ourselves to an activity that we
enjoy from the list above! Happy exercising!
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