New York has a lot of 'everyday' athletes. It’s a state where various sports, ranging from basketball, football, boxing, mixed martial arts, tennis and golf are so big that millions of people participate in them everyday to stay fit. However, it doesn’t matter if you’re a professional player, a serious fitness buff, or an ordinary gym guy or gal, injuries – particularly to the lower back area – will find their way to ruin your game if you aren’t careful.
In an effort to teach us ways on how to prevent back pain like a professional, fitness expert and CNN columnist, Dana Santas, lists simple stretches that we can do at home, or practically anywhere.
No pain no game?
The lower back is often prone to injuries, especially to athletes and fitness enthusiasts. The pain can differ from minor ones such as a pinched nerve with strained lower back muscles to major ailments like herniated and/or bulging discs. Let’s say you’re an avid golfer, a type of athlete that constantly swings clubs with force and puts strain on your back, the key to lower the risk of all of these issues is to understand, recognize, and prepare.
Here in New York, predominantly in Long Island, golf is a serious venture. Golf.com even places the city and state at the number eight spot, tied with Illinois, on the list of the United States’ most “golfiness” areas. Players in the Big Apple vary from tour pros, to businessmen and businesswomen, to casuals. It’s also safe to say that most of them know how certain back problems can hinder their progress. Even the greatest of all time Tiger Woods isn’t immune to this type of injury. Long Island golf website Play Your Course has a blog entry by Ren Gates that puts a spotlight on how this particular injury blocked Tiger Woods’ comeback trail. As most of us have already learned, Woods has a long history of back injuries, which ultimately dragged him further down the golf rankings.
Why lower back pain?
We can attribute different back pains to two things: poor form and lack of flexibility. These are the main reasons why it’s important at all times to be scientific when it comes to skills training and thorough in terms of warm ups.
During a game of golf – or any other physical activity – it’s imperative to focus on improving the unison of several muscle groups; this includes the hips, the pelvis, and the core. In essence, we should work on stretching our traps and pecs, as well as strengthening our back and shoulder muscles, in order to improve spinal support and posture. Lastly, remember that true power comes from our hips, not our lower back, whether you are swinging a golf club, a baseball bat, or throwing a punch at the boxing gym.
How to alleviate lower back pain (& improve posture)
Before hitting the gym, the hard court, or the course, it’s important to follow a specific training regimen for the back muscles. You can start with simple at-home exercises as a dynamic warm up to prep your body for upcoming physical activity. Try: