Back to Life

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Fitness Lisa TurpinBy Lisa Leath Turpin, Wellness Coach

Raise your hand if your back is more tight and sore from being quarantined and less active. Let’s get BACK to life or life back in our backs! A healthy back is not hard to obtain if you know what to do and stay consistent. Fearful you might make things worse? Evaluate the pain. If the pain isn’t caused by a dangerous disc problem, diagnosed by a doctor and not yourself, you may have to get through the start-up tightness and pain. Pain is relative; meaning, it might be tender or sensitive due to weakness or imbalances, and this can make one scared to push. If you use proper safe strengthening and stretching techniques, developing balance throughout the body, you will, undoubtedly find relief and be stronger for everyday life. Take physical therapy—if you are correcting an imbalance or weakness it might cause discomfort. It’s this process that trains (teaches) your muscles to shape up and do their job. A muscle’s job is to hold the skeletal system in place and move your joints to do the actions your brain tells them to. Loose muscles make your joints work harder; and imbalanced muscles can create an uneven pull on joints causing the joint to move out of place and chronically not perform correctly. (Please don’t get to this point!) Imbalance and weakness throughout the various parts of the spine can move vertebrae out of place. Your given muscles control this, but they can’t help if they aren’t strong enough. Tighten them up and they hug your skeletal system like a natural healthy God-given compression sleeve. Each one of us is given the tools we need, we just have to apply ourselves and utilize what’s given to us. It doesn’t take a gym; gyms just make it easier through the technology of weight machines. Or bodyweight works!

Engage your “core!” Realize your spine is off-centered transversely (looking front to back). You can feel your spine along your back, but not along your front. So, anatomically you were given muscles called Erectors that run along each side of your spine plus abdominal muscles like rectus abdominis to support your spine and hold you upright (erect). Any weight you add to the front of you makes your spine work even harder. So, belly fat, and even large breasts can cause the spine to struggle. It’s imperative to work those above muscles termed “the core.” Your neck and low back are least protected, because there isn’t extra skeletal structure like ribcage, shoulders or hip girdle—only the spine. So, these areas are most vulnerable and therefore need avid focus. To create a healthy back, learn to engage your core. Sit or stand with both feet hip bone width apart. Extend the spine. If your spine were to continue to the ceiling, it would come from the back of the head. So, keep your eyes on the horizon and chin slightly tucked/neutral and elongate your spine. Breathe in through your nose, pull your bellybutton in toward your spine (imagine the back of bellybutton connecting with the inner spine), and exhale while pulling bellybutton in more and keeping spine extended, shoulders down away from ears. Consistently doing this will help you avoid the “tummy pooch.” Engage your core to stabilize during training and aim for a neutral position when bending over or pressing overhead. For strong erectors, hyper-extensions are excellent. Example: Lying face down, body extended, hands clasped behind back, keep feet anchored to floor, lift your upper body up and come back down for 10-20 repetitions—will be about a 1-3 inch lift. Your best will not feel very high. Learn more back information on my social platforms or text/call (850) 974-2005. Follow me on Facebook: Lisa Turpin-Be Active Health & Fitness (@LisaTurpinFitness).

Lisa Turpin is a degreed and certified health and fitness lifestyle coach who has devoted her life to motivating and strengthening the body and minds of others. With over 20 years’ experience as a group exercise leader, currently at Destin Health & Fitness and an independent personal trainer in the Destin area, she is diverse and extensively trained in classical and modern Pilates, lifestyle management, personal training, group exercise and post-rehabilitation. She is currently taking on new clients/participants; text only to 850-974-2005 or message from her Facebook Page.