Christmas is almost here! From end of year feasts to catching up with friends, family gatherings and a little R&R, this can be a busy time for many of us and you may not leave much room for thinking about your spinal health.
The festive season often involves travelling, sitting for long periods, a lack of physical activity, and extensive household work like cooking/cleaning. Be mindful that these things can impact your health and wellbeing!
Here are some helpful spinal health tips and tools to remember this festive season:
- Get out and walk – If you’re finding it hard to exercise during this time, set a goal to walk 10,000 steps a day. Walking can keep your health on track and help improve your posture and overall spinal health.
- Take it easy – Christmas can be a very busy time with putting up the tree, hanging decorations or cooking up a feast, which can all put strain on your body, especially your spine. You don’t need to do all these tasks at once, or by yourself, so be sure to ask for help and take frequent breaks.
- Be mindful when lifting- Wrapped a present that’s a little too heavy? Make sure to carry heavy items in a spine safe way by keeping the item as close to your body as you can. When space permits bend at the knees instead of the waist to lessen the strain on your back, use both hands and slowly stand up.
- Look up!- With more and more time being spent looking down at phones, this can put strain on your neck and spine. Christmas is a time to be social and catch up with friends and family, so when at a festive event why not have a ‘no phone’ policy, giving you a much-needed break from technology.
- Take a break from sitting- If driving, make sure to take a 10-15 min break at least every hour to not only wake you up but to give your spine a comfort of decompressing from sitting in a vibrating vehicle. If you have a long flight, make sure to put a pillow behind your lower back to provide lumbar support to assist your posture while sitting. Take frequent bathroom breaks and walk around for 10-15min to improve circulation in your body.
- Avoid grannies old bed – Grandmas bed may have been passed down over generations, but it isn’t necessarily the most supportive for the back. If the bed is too soft, get help to pull the mattress off the base and onto the floor to provide better support. If you have space take your own pillow! If the hotel pillow is not supportive, use a bath towel to make a neck roll and place it in the pillowslip to create more support in the neck. Or pick a hotel that has a pillow menu option.
- Ease into New Year fitness resolutions – Don’t be too aggressive with that new yoga or pump class. The first 4-6 weeks of a new exercise regime should be taken easy because that’s how long your body normally takes to adapt to the change of stress on your body created by a new exercise or activity.
We wish you all a happy and safe festive season, and look forward to seeing you again in 2020!