I'm stuck in the airport because my flight is delayed. To kill a little time, I thought I'd share five back-pain tips that I donated to Natural Awakenings Magazine this month. When I say simple, I mean SIMPLE, yet most people who email, call, or come into the Institute have a hard time making these basic changes. Let me share something with you: Simple doesn't mean easy. Not eating sugar, Simple. Not eating sugar, Reallllly hard to do. Solutions to most things are simple, yet they take great rearrangements of your life, i.e. how you spend your time and money, what you prioritize over your health (everyone says Health is #1, yet the facts show something different!), and how deeply your habits are ingrained. Take a stab at these and see how things go. Which one is the most difficult for you? I can tell you that for me, it is getting down onto the floor and doing an hour of spinal twisting. I actually LOVE to do this, but I have to be in a class to do it, it seems. That's crazy!
I've already done Legs on the Wall here in the airport. Also, I usually travel with a pelvis in my carry-on. I've also been "randomly screened" every time I fly, except for the time I accidentally had a Swiss Army knife in my purse, which I didn't even know I had and only realized it once I got to my hotel. They didn't stop me for that, which is weird, right?
Thanks for keeping me entertained -- here you go!
1. Lose the high heels. The scientific consensus is that high heels compress and damage the lumbar spine, increasing osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease in the low back.
2. Let the feet point the way. Just like the wheels on a car, feet should point straight ahead when walking. Military or dance training, or an ankle or back injury can sometimes result in a sort of duck walk. Line up the outsides of the feet along the straight edge of a carpet or tile floor and walk along it to practice.
3. Stretch the calves. Tight calves are a major contributor to back pain. The tighter the lower leg, the more one’s gait pattern whips the upper back forward and contributes to curling of the upper spine. Adding a daily calf stretch to any exercise routine helps to better align the spine.
4. Do the twist. Each vertebra in the spine not only bends forward and backward and from side-to-side, it also rotates. Of all these natural motions, the twisting of the torso is the least used in our culture. Incorporating a yoga spinal twist into an exercise routine will gently reintroduce rotation back into our movement repertoire.
5. Get a better butt. The main culprit of low back pain is weak butt muscles. Gluteal muscles not only stabilize the tailbone, they help support the function of the low back muscles. If the glutes are weak, the low back muscles have to work harder than normal, which makes them fatigued and sore. Squats work well to strengthen the butt.
Read more about the twist: http://nutritiousmovement.com/the-best-abdominal-exercise-youre-not-doing/
Read more about how to squat, naturally! And, there's the best Calf Stretch pictured here too: http://nutritiousmovement.com/you-dont-know-squat/
Picture of correct foot position here: http://nutritiousmovement.com/the-bunion-blog-and-alignment-sock-give-away/