Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's what you do AFTER exercising that can hurt your back

Exercise tip of the day- many people realize that when they feel back pain after playing sports, it's what they do immediately afterward that injures their back.

One of my favorite examples is from cycling.  Cycling, particularly long distances, places the spine in a flexed forward posture for a prolonged period, which places a lot of stress on the disk.

Oft times after a long ride, cyclists like to plop down- whether it is drink a beer sitting on the grass, sitting in their car to drive home, or sitting on a couch to grab something to eat and watch TV.

This plopping is where many athletes hurt their spine- their support muscles are already fatigued, so sitting in a slumped position exacerbates the loading on their disks.

My recommendation- immediately after cycling, do some exercises to reverse the flexed forward posture from cycling.  My favorite exercise is the prone press-up (essentially the same maneuver as the upward facing dog position in yoga, with a few refinements), but standing back extensions are a reasonable choice as well (standing and arching backward).  Standing back extensions are also a great choice after you've been sitting for a long time on an airplane or car ride as well.

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