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Exercise and Diet


Maj Spencer
There are several simple things you can do to prevent low back pain, including regular exercise and proper diet. Captain Laydon, can you offer some detailed advice on these prevention strategies?

Capt Laydon
Yes, I can, Major Spencer. One of the best things you can do is to exercise regularly and keep your back muscles strong. In particular, exercises that increase balance and strength, like Tai Chi and yoga, can decrease your risk of injury. Exercise will get your back moving and help to stretch stiff muscles and joints. Be sure to build up your activity level gradually.

Of course, different activities work best for different people. Walking and swimming can provide a workout without putting too much stress on the back. Choose an activity you enjoy to make it more likely that you’ll stick with it.

When you’re exercising or playing a sport, be aware of your body’s limits, and don’t overdo it. Of course, some discomfort is expected, especially when starting an exercise program, so don’t be alarmed if you’re sore at first. That’s usually a sign that you’re making progress.

Eating a healthy diet is an easy way to promote overall health and prevent back pain. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, eating right will help you avoid putting unnecessary stress and strain on your spine. One of the most common risk factors for back pain is being overweight. The extra weight puts excessive strain on the back by shifting the body’s center of gravity. So if you’re overweight and have back pain, a combination of eating right and exercise may help ease the problem.