On Your Feet All Day?
The average person takes 6,200 steps per day. That is over 3 miles! In active professions, like nursing, the number can be even higher. Sure, it may be great for your waistline, but without taking the proper steps, you could be wreaking havoc on your spine and posture. As a practicing chiropractor here in Rochester, I see this happen all the time. Here are some simple tips to ensure your back stays healthy:
Pay Attention to Footwear
Make sure your shoes are supportive and comfortable. After you wear them for a while, look at the heels and see where they are wearing. If after 6 months there is uneven wearing you could have a misalignment in your pelvis. The average shoe is rated for around 500 miles, but like any product, that varies by brand and quality. Some people keep their shoes way too long, especially in jobs where they are on their feet. Nurses take up to 15,000 steps a day. That should mean new shoes every three to four months.
Flex the Abs
Another easy thing to do is to keep your abs drawn in tight, like when doing Yoga or Pilates. There is no way to have a healthy lower back structure without a strong core. Hold those abdominal muscles not super flexed like preparing for a punch, but tight. If you are not keeping your abs tight you may well end up with joint dysfunction and lower back pain.
Keep Good Posture
Posture is a huge issue. From slouching to arching, we all have improvements to make. The key issue though is head position. The head should be over the shoulders, not looking at the feet. The chin and nose need to be pointed upwards, at least horizontal, if not a touch higher. Left unfixed, this can lead to problems in the lower neck.
The shoulder joint should move forward and backwards approximately 3-4 inches while walking. This is a big one. This is a typical for people with dogs. Since they are holding a leash, their arms are stationary while walking. Pushing carts can cause a similar problem. If you are not swinging your arms, you are robbing motion from the mid back. Regular motion loosens the spine and can alleviate a lot of pain. If people are not rotating their shoulders or swinging their arms when walking, they are most likely going to have mid back tension.
The biggest issue I see is a lack of exercise. While people maybe walking a lot, it’s not over a long enough period of time to get the heart rate at a level that promotes stress reduction and heart health. An average person should aim for 20 continuous minutes of strong walking and focus on getting the heart rate up. If nothing else, try to get 20 good minutes of walking in over lunch to see benefits. Ten thousand steps per day is recommended and a portion of that needs to be actually dedicated exercise time.
All of these tips can greatly improve how your back feels and protect it from the repetitive motions that professions like nursing create. Also, most important remember to visit your chiropractor. They are a vital resource for encouraging good health, and critical for people in labor-intensive occupations.
~ Junge Family Chiropractic is a chiropractic clinic serving Rochester, MN and surrounding communitie