MATT LIS­TER

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

Attitude - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy Markus Bi­daux

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.

WATCH­ING TV

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.

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