If you are looking for a sport or activity that will help strengthen your spine and keep it healthy, you came to the right place. There are a lot of great activities to choose from. But which ones offer the greatest advantages to you?
The best sports for spine health provide overall benefits such as cardiovascular conditioning, strength, and flexibility. They also have to be low impact, especially if you are recovering from an injury or have a history of back problems.
Here are some of the best examples.
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that uses a series of collective movements and is one of the sports for spine health that challenges the entire body. Although the exercises are usually performed at a slower tempo, there are some instances where you may want to do them at a faster pace. It all depends on what goal you are trying to achieve.
For the average person, it is preferable to go slow. The movements alone, combined with the focused breathing techniques, have several benefits:
- Increased muscle flexibility
- Increased joint range of motion
- Improved cardiovascular conditioning
- Improved lung capacity
- Increased cognitive function
- Decreased stress
- Increased blood flow
Simple Tai Chi movements can help stimulate the areas around the lower lumbar and pelvic regions. It is a suitable exercise, when performed slowly, for the following conditions:
- Lumbar stenosis
- Hip pain
- Bulging discs
What’s the difference between Tai Chi and Qigong?
Although they are not the same, Qigong is the foundation of Tai Chi. It also has its roots in China and is the basis for acupuncture techniques. Think of Qigong as the philosophical and lifestyle bedrock of multiple Chinese disciplines.
Swimming laps is a safe and effective activity and is one of the best sports for spine health. It not only improves cardiovascular conditioning but also increases flexibility and core strength.
The freestyle stroke is probably the best technique since it works the lumbar region while exercising without adding sheer forces like other strokes. No matter what style you select, swimming will give the spinal column muscles a gentle but effective workout.
It is best to start slow, especially if you have spinal issues or are rehabilitating from an injury. You may even want to try walking before you get into the pool. It is always best to gauge your level of fitness before trying out a new activity.
If you want to achieve outstanding results, take swimming lessons. That may seem counterintuitive, especially if you’re an adult who already knows how to swim. But hiring a coach will help you maximize the effectiveness of your workouts. They will also give you advice on techniques for protecting your spine.
Hiking And Walking
Walking and hiking are not only great activities for spine health, but they are a fun way to get out and enjoy nature. It is also a lot easier on the wallet than sports requiring a lot of equipment.
Walking uphill can be a great way to mobilize the hips and stretch out those tight hamstrings. But be careful not to march downhill too fast. The jarring and pounding of each footfall can create compressive forces on your spine, leading to injury and dysfunction.
Also, it’s best to stay on the trails. Uneven surfaces with large rocks, roots, and other obstacles can cause you to lose your footing. And falling over the side of an embankment or twisting your ankle will defeat the purpose of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
If you want a great cardiovascular workout, and you live in a flat area with a lot of snow, cross-country skiing is for you. It is one of the sports for spine health that won’t hurt your back. That’s because the movements in cross-country skiing are fairly linear without a lot of twisting.
Cycling has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. Riding a bicycle has many health advantages, including:
- Improved cardiac function
- Increased hip, knee, and ankle mobility
- Better breathing
- Decreased stress
There are a few things to watch out for when it comes to spine health and cycling. You must maintain a proper position on the bike at all times. It is best to choose a bike that is sized specifically for your height and body type.
Most of all, watch for cars! If you sustain an injury while riding your bike, it is important to see a chiropractor if you suspect that your joints have become misaligned.