recreational activities to reduce back pain and stress

Reduce Your Stress, Reduce Your Back Pain

While it’s true that seeing a chiropractor can help relieve your back and neck pain and prevent future injuries, a big part of this process is what happens once you leave your chiropractor’s office.

At Mind Body Spine in Victoria, BC, we strongly encourage many of our clients who are looking to prevent future back pain to try and find ways to manage their stress levels. We tell our clients this because unmanaged stress can cause our bodies to tense up, which leads to physical injury if we don’t stay on top of things and listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us.

One great way to reduce your stress levels – aside from the usual suspects like sleeping more and eating well – is to find a new hobby or activity that not only reduces your stress, but activates your Mind, Body, and Spine at the same time. Engaging in such activities is an effective way at keeping your spine healthy and warding off future pain – both mild and severe.

Each of our suggested recreational activities below is enough to not only help improve your health overall, but prevent conditions of the spine, neck, and joints.

Here are a few suggested recreational activities you can try to prevent back pain and reduce stress in your life. Find any of the activities below listed in the Victoria Active Living Guide. Before you begin, be sure to check in with your chiropractor before starting any new type of hobby that involves physical activity.

Yoga

Yoga can help reduce stress in your daily life and prevent back pain. Yoga is a form of low-impact exercise that emphasizes moving your body as you focus on your breathing techniques and your body awareness. Each yoga pose is purposeful, and most tend to work more than one area of the body at once, including your back, core, and leg muscles to assist you in building a stronger foundation.

A big part of yoga is balance and flexibility, which are both important for preventing falls and injuries. In a yoga class, an instructor guides you through the poses and can help modify anything that doesn’t feel comfortable. When it comes to finding a suitable class for you, there are many to choose from, allowing you to start off at a beginner level and move up to more advanced poses.

Aqua Aerobics and Swimming

Aqua aerobics, also sometimes called water aerobics or aquafit, are fitness classes that take place in the pool. They are led by an instructor and sometimes involve floating equipment to create more resistance than what’s already provided by the water alone.

Guided aqua aerobics classes are an effective, low-impact workout that can be suitable for all ages and gets all the major muscle groups moving. The extra resistance from the water helps strengthen muscles while reducing the impact on your joints.

Aqua fitness is more dynamic and social, and can be more motivating, than simply swimming laps of the pool, however, swimming in any form is great for reducing and preventing back pain. The added benefit of enrolling at your local pool is getting to use the hot tub and steam rooms after your workout, which can further reduce stress and help prevent or alleviate back pain.

Dancing

Whether it’s dancing around your living room as you’re tidying up, or swaying to the music while you’re preparing dinner, dancing can be a fun way to incorporate more movement into your daily life. Dance classes at a local recreation centre can even more so boost your mood, reduce your stress, and help get you moving – the perfect recipe for reduced back pain.

When compared to working out in a gym – where machines, equipment, and counting reps is often required – dancing is a completely freeing workout. Through dance, you’re able to move how you want and aren’t restricted in any way. This often leads to movements done more fluidly, or with less muscle tension, which is ultimately great for warding off injury relating to physical activity. Just listen to your body and dance within your physical limits and you should be all set!

Tai Chitai chi for reduced stress and back pain

Tai Chi or “meditation in motion” as it is referred to in some circles is a Chinese martial art that combines meditation, deep breathing, and methodically slow movements of the body to enhance mobility and balance. Tai Chi is low-impact and delivers some major health benefits, such as improving pain and better sleep quality.

This activity is easy to learn and easy to practice – there is no equipment needed and no risk of doing the moves “wrong” or “not good enough”, making it a great activity for anyone who is nervous or anxious about learning and progressing through a new activity.

Activities that Require You to Proceed with Caution

The following activities can significantly reduce stress in your life, but could exacerbate back pain if not carried through with care and attention:

  • Gardening – Tending to your garden can be backbreaking work. Be careful out there and take frequent breaks and timeouts to stretch. Consider waist-high container gardening wherever possible.
  • Stair Climber – If you’re toughing it out at the gym, watch your posture on every machine, but particularly the stair climber.
  • Video Gaming – It’s easy to spend hours on end engrossed in a game, and for many it’s a significant stress reducer, but it can’t prevent back pain if you’re not seated comfortably with support for your back and neck.
  • Driving – Driving is also a great stress reducer for many. Who doesn’t love allowing the mind to wander while out on the open road? Again, make sure you take frequent breaks and are seated in a comfortable position.
  • Surfing – The ocean is an unpredictable place, making surfing a tough one for us to recommend to anyone looking to try something new to reduce their stress and prevent back pain at the same time.

Chiropractic Care to Reduce Stress

In addition to the items above, regular chiropractic care is one of the most effective ways of reducing stress and tension on your nerves and spine. Combining light physical activity with chiropractor therapy can help put you on the fastest road to recovery if you’re already experiencing regular neck and back pain.

Combining chiropractic care with having fun can also help prevent future back pain. How? Chiropractic care can help correct the spine’s alignment, which can release physical pressure from one’s nerves, while the recreational activities suggested above can help you relax while improving your flexibility and toning your muscles.

For more suggestions on staying active and relieving back and neck pain, book an appointment with a chiropractor. Dr. Stephanie Louie at Mind Body Spine in Victoria, BC can help by recommending the best activities to suit your current physical ability. Call Mind Body Spine at 250-885-2320 to book an appointment today.