Keeping Your Back Healthy

Everyday Care

Exercise: The Right Program and the Right Preparation
You don't have to exercise for long periods of time—or even vigorously—to become fit. You do need to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week.
When Exercising, Don't Skip Stretching
While it's true that stretching won't strengthen your heart or flatten your stomach, it can help you reach those goals more efficiently.
Smoking Hurts Your Back
Smoking damages your arteries, and it’s thought that the damaged arteries in the discs and joints in your back may lead to pain and injury.
Watch that Backpack Load
When your child acts as if she’s carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, maybe you should check her backpack.

Body Mechanics for Back Safety

A Safer Way to Get Out of Bed
Something as simple as getting out of bed properly can help to ease strain on your back and prevent injury.
How to Bend Properly
Bending properly can help you avoid back strain and injury. Here are some tips for proper bending.
Tips for Safer Lifting
When carrying the load, keep it close to your body. Don’t twist your back—keep your shoulders and hips in line with each other.
The Right Way to Push and Pull
Pushing and pulling objects can affect your back, as well as your arms and legs. Follow these tips to help protect your back.
Sitting Pretty: Protect Your Back
If you must sit for long periods, get up from your chair several times an hour and move around.
Good Sleeping Posture Helps Your Back
Regardless of what sleeping position you prefer, keep your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned.
Stand Up for Good Posture
Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, with one foot placed slightly in front of the other. Bend your knees slightly.
Back Health: How to Turn Safely
Although your spine and the muscles that support it are meant to be flexible, it’s important not to twist the spine when you turn.

Exercises for Strength and Flexibility

5 Exercises to Prevent an Aching Neck
Although neck pain can be the result of stress, age or injury, it is most often associated with poor posture.
Exercise and the Aging Person
Exercise is good for people of all ages. It helps lower blood pressure, reduces the risks for falls and serious injuries, and slows the body's loss of muscle and bone mass.
Increase Your Back's Flexibility with This Rotation
Use this lower back rotation to strengthen your back muscles and improve your spine’s flexibility.
Boost Your Flexibility with the Back Press
The back press exercise strengthens your abdominal muscles and improves spinal flexibility.
The Bridge to a Healthy Back
The bridge is often performed as part of a yoga or Pilates class. It strengthens the abdominal core, buttocks, and hamstrings.
For a Back Stretch, Try the Elbow Press
The elbow press is a type of stretching exercise that bends the back backward, in an extension.
Pelvic Tilt Builds Abdominal Strength
The pelvic tilt exercise is composed of subtle motions that build strength by isolating, tightening, and holding muscle positions.
A Rotation That Starts at the Waist
This back exercise improves strength and flexibility of your spine. Start by sitting in a sturdy chair, with your feet flat on the floor.
The Side Stretch: A Gentle Exercise
The side stretch exercise stretches and strengthens the intercostal muscles, which help support the ribs.