So much of what we do every day — for work or pleasure — puts terrible pressure on our backs, which can lead to long- term complications. Matt Lister reveals some of the worst situations and suggests ways to counteract the problems
Fitness in focus
Ihave witnessed far too many back- crippling no- no’s of late — I’m as guilty as the next man. Daily tasks and routines are plagued with awkward positions and before we know it, we’re shelling out buckets of cash to the physio or chiropractor. Here are a few times you need to give your back ( and neck) a little more loving...
IN THE GYM One fundamental reason we go to the gym is to try to make ourselves and our bodies healthier. But if we’re lifting weights with a bad posture then all the hard work is for nothing, and the risk of injury increases dramatically. When you are taught a new technique or lift in the gym, you should be given key positions to hit, to move the weight in the most efficient way, and the correct way to avoid injuring yourself. Practising these techniques with an empty bar or very light weight is the key to success. Remember: you can’t learn to run before you can crawl.
LIFTING ANY LARGE/ HEAVY OBJECT
Now this is a big one. Please, please, please treat any heavy object as if it is a bar in the gym. You would never walk over to a ridiculously heavy bar and pick it up with your back arched, heaving it up until your head and back explode, so why would you go home and do it with that mammoth flat- pack table that just arrived? Don’t ever bend over a box ( no giggling, thank you!) and try to lift it from the top. Always bend from the knees and hips, squat to the level if you can, and keep your back flat. And if it’s too heavy to manage alone, don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s help.
For many of us, watching TV has become “watching some form of streaming channel on your laptop, lying on the bed with your neck propped up against three pillows to give your back that beautiful L- curve it’s always wanted.” No, stop it. Go and sit on the sofa ( without slouching) and binge- watch in a lovely upright position. Otherwise, all that extra tension through your neck is going to build up and cause problems before long.
TECH- NECK FROM PHONE OVERUSE
Yup, we’re not done with your neck just yet. How many hours a day are you spending staring down at your crotch region… looking at your phone screen? I know it’s interesting down there but if we continue doing that for years, we’re all going to end up with a camel hump on the back of our neck and get a neck support just to keep our heads up. ( Not proven, but you the idea: it’s not good for you). Try cutting your amount of lap- screen time, and opt for sitting in a position that keeps your neck neutral while you swipe.