Dealing with back pain is extremely common. In fact, according to a study published in Spine, as many as 26% of all Americans endure lower back pain every 90 days. Back pain also happens to be the highest form of disability in the world, based on research published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. According to Penn Medicine, plenty of individuals begin to observe back pain between 40 and 60 years of age. So if you've developed a bad back in your 40s, don't stress, because we have some strength exercises that will help.
We spoke with Dr. Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, CPH, MWC, ELS, a member of the Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board who shares with us the do's and don'ts when it comes to living with back issues. If you're dealing with a bad back in your 40s, listen up, and read on to learn more. And next up, be sure to check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
Avoid movements that put a lot of pressure on your spine
First off, Dr. Bohl explains there are certain exercises you should avoid so you don't make things worse than they already are. For example, bending completely over to tap your toes or attempting to do complete sit-ups can potentially worsen your situation. It's extremely important to avoid these movements that put too much pressure on your spine.
In addition, Dr. Bohl warns, "Avoid lifting weights that are too heavy (especially if you don't know the proper way to do certain exercises) and any high-impact exercises, like certain sports."
Pelvic tilts, bridging, and aerobic exercise are all must-do's
As far as what exercises you should be doing, Dr. Bohl suggests, "Some of the best exercises you can do to strengthen the back, relax the muscles, and help reduce pain include stretching the hamstrings by pulling one leg at a time up to the chest, doing pelvic tilts by rocking the pelvis back and forth, bridging—which involves laying on your back and then lifting your butt, keeping the feet, shoulders, head, and arms on the ground—and aerobic exercises, which can help you lose weight (particularly swimming, which may also help take some of the pressure off of your back temporarily)."
The reason why these movements work so effectively is some of them will aid in making your muscles stronger, and other moves will give them a nice stretch. Dr. Bohl explains, "Back pain is commonly due to poor posture, but working out the muscles in the core while also ensuring proper mobility is one way to make sure the spine stays stabilized and in the right position."
Focus on maintaining good posture
There are additional daily habits you can add to your routine that can help improve a bad back. Dr. Bohl says, "One of the best things you can do to help improve a bad back is to focus on your posture. A lot of back pain comes from muscle pain that develops after sitting in the wrong position for a long time. In some cases, though, what your back may need is some rest."
Some ways to enhance the blood flow that feeds the muscles of your back are to use cooling or heating pads. Treating yourself to a massage can help, too!
For more mind and body news, check out Shrink Belly Fat Faster In Your 40s With These Free Weight Exercises, Trainer Says and The Best Exercises To Get Rid Of A Pot Belly In Your 40s, Trainer Says.