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Exercise Helps

Getting fit again

I have now been practising as an osteopath for over 25 years, following a previous career as a nurse. Whilst nursing, I sustained a back injury and after seeking treatment that failed I was recommended to seek the help of an osteopath.

I was immediately amazed at the benefits of osteopathy – the pain reduced dramatically, I got back on my feet again and the advice on posture, exercise, ergonomics and how to avoid problems in the future was invaluable.

I’m sure many of you are thinking about exercising and getting fit again. There are many benefits to exercising, one of which is avoiding back pain. Think of your level of exercise as a ‘U’ with inactivity at one end and excessive physical activity at the other. These extremes can contribute to the development of back pain so make sure you exercise moderately and stay in the middle of the ‘U’ curve. It is important that you get the right balance from the start.

Keep it moving

If you are already suffering from back pain, you should be aware that the historic advice of resting is no longer recommended. You should attempt to carry on with your normal activities, including going back to work! However, modern work often involves being static in a chair all day which is not good. Therefore, every opportunity should be taken to keep mobile, eg. do the filing and volunteer to make all your colleagues their tea and coffee!

So, what should you do? Try not to think of exercise as just going to the gym or taking up a sport. It should start with a lifestyle change. By that I mean try to become more active generally by some simple steps like taking the stairs instead of the lift, parking your car further away from the office, school or shops. All these little changes go a long way to increasing your fitness levels.

Exercising the right amount

You should take regular exercise for 30-45 minutes, 2-3 times a week. Don’t get too hung up on what sort of exercise you take, it is more important you take some than what type you take. Make sure it is something you enjoy otherwise you won’t stick to it.

Remember you need to build up your fitness, so start slowly and gradually increase your level of activity, doing a little often rather than bouts of heavy activity. Therefore, my advice is start by taking the stairs, then add some other form of activity which you do 2-3 times a week and gradually build the time you spend on it up to 30-45 minutes.

Finally, don’t forget, exercise should be viewed as ongoing, so try to decide upon a realistic level of activity for your circumstances.