The bright sun, longer days, and summer heat seem to pluck people effortlessly outside for the activity-packed summer months. It’s no surprise that this time of year offers the best weather for outdoor activities, pool parties, traveling, and spending as much time out and about as we can. It is an excellent opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while doing summer fun activities to strengthen your back and even help relieve back pain.
In the spirit of staying back-pain-free while still enjoying this sunny time of year, here are some helpful ways to take care of your spine this summer.
Swimming goes hand-in-hand with summer. Whether you are at the beach or a pool, swimming is the number one summer fun activity that is good for your back!
Swimming is a no-impact form of exercise, often recommended for those recovering from injuries or surgery and people for whom higher-impact activities such as running would be painful or dangerous.
Unlike other types of cardio that can be tough on the body, swimming not only burns calories and builds muscle, but it’s also refreshing, especially in the summer heat.
Any simple stretches, exercises, or walking movements in water is a fantastic thing for chronic back and neck pain relief, as the weight of your body is lessened and, therefore, the pressure on the spine is too.
The famous saying “don’t try to run before you can walk” is even more true if you suffer from back pain. The simple movement of walking is one of the best things you can do for chronic lower back pain. Ten to fifteen minutes of walking twice a day is enough to start helping.
You can work your way up to more strenuous exercise like running, but if the only thing you can do without pain is walk half a block, do that, do some other movement that doesn’t cause pain, and then walk another half block.
Walking on a beach also has numerous benefits. Here are some of the benefits covered in an article from Healthline:
- Walking in sand requires a greater effort than walking on a hard surface. Your muscles and tendons will work harder, strengthening your feet and ancles. Beach walks will burn more calories than walks on the sidewalk.
- Walking on the beach is ideal for those with pain in their knees, back, and hips as sand puts less stress on the body, making it easier on the bones and joints.
- Being outside and surrounded by the rhythm of the waves has a calming effect on our nervous system.
- Walking on the beach can help relieve stress and the sunshine can help our bodies synthesize Vitamin D.
Yoga is a gentle practice that is ideal for maintaining back strength and flexibility. It’s also one of the more effective tools for helping reduce low back pain, the most common source of pain and disability among older adults.
Yoga involves a series of poses, also called postures, and emphasizes breathing techniques. The postures teach you to stretch and strengthen your muscles, which helps reduce muscular tension, build flexibility and strength, and improve balance and bone strength.
Many of the postures in yoga gently strengthen the muscles in the back and the abdominal muscles.
Back and abdominal muscles are essential components of the muscular network of the spine, helping the body maintain proper upright posture and movement. You will significantly reduce or avoid back pain when you condition these muscles well.
It is common for yoga classes to be done outside during the summer while the weather is nice, but yoga studios are open year-round, so you can continue to go to classes or learn to do it at home.
We want you to get out there and have a fantastic summer. By taking care of your back and doing any of the above fun summer activities to help strengthen it, you can have an action-packed summer without worrying about back pain. We are committed to helping you live a pain-free life, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions or would like to schedule a complimentary consultation.
Craig Strickland, DC