You’d be amazed at how many times I hear my patients say, ‘If I walked/exercised/went to gym more often, my back would be in better shape’.
That’s true. Good exercise habits certainly help keep your spine in good shape.
But the reverse is just as true – when your spine is in great shape, this helps you be able to do the things you want to do, including getting back into exercise.
It’s World Spine Day on October 16 and the Australian Chiropractors Association is getting on board with the campaign ‘Get Spine Active’.
In this article, we’ll discuss how getting back into activity and having a healthy spine and nervous system influence each other and go together.
The right activities to move your spine
It makes perfect sense that if you move more, be active, that your spine will benefit.
Some of the best and most gentle activities that you can do to help move your spine are: walking, swimming, yoga, tai chi and elliptical machine at the gym.
These all have great benefits, the common benefit being that they all move your spine very well. Regular activities such as these will help keep your spine moving.
We are all familiar with that idea, but what about the opposite. How does better spinal function lead to a more active life?
Three ways a better spine helps you be more active
It’s a great question that I like to discuss with my chiropractic patients often.
There are three ways that having your spine and nervous system working better helps you to become more active.
- Less pain makes everything easier. When your spine and nervous system are working better, your body functions better, accumulating less stress and damage, and healing the damage that has already occurred. When there is less damage, there is less inflammation and accompanying pain. Having less or no pain makes all movement much easier and more enjoyable. You are more motivated to just do something, instead of flopping onto the couch!
- Better function makes movement easier. Our patients at Canberra Spine Centre often tell us that as their spine and nervous system improve, they feel that things are easier to do. This could be simple walking, swinging a golf club, or higher-level sport. Whatever it is that you want to do, it will be more rewarding for you when your body does it more easily. This positive feedback makes you more likely to do more of it.
- Better function leads to better choices. Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling crummy you’ll tend to make poor choices? When you’re tired, stressed and feeling poorly, which do you choose, the ice-cream or fruit salad? Going to the gym or watching the next episode of your favourite TV show? You know it – we’ve all been there! The opposite is true, too. When you feel great, you’ll make better choices. When your spine and nervous system is working well, your physiology will tend to shift towards rest, recuperation and relaxation, as opposed to ‘flight or fight’ (aka stress response). When you are in this restful and less stressed state, it is easier to make healthier choices, such as getting off your butt and going out for a walk!
So there you have it. If you want better overall health, get out and move.
If you want help doing that, start by getting your spine and nervous system in good shape. Work to improve both and you’ll get a better outcome!
At Canberra Spine Centre, we help people to recover normal function and get back to activity every day.
If you’re interested in getting back into activity and would like some help and advice, please call us on (02) 6257 9400.
If you would like some more information about the spine and nervous system and how it relates to your health, please check out the other articles on our Facebook page or go to our website: www.spinecentre.com.au.
Also, make sure you read the other interesting articles we post on getting back into activity this month.