Whether it’s the beach, a barbie or backyard cricket, Australia Day is all about relaxing and having fun with your mates. Whatever you plan to do to celebrate our special Aussie Day, make sure you take care of your back with these Australia Day Survival Tips from Bruce Lane of Redlands Chiropractic Centre.
While a day off is a great excuse for lying on the couch, make sure you get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to keep your back and your whole system moving. It’s particularly important to keep moving and activating your core stabilising muscles to support your back.
Watch Your load
This time of year we can get a bit too excited about backyard games and beach fun. It’s during this time that I find people will often over extend muscles, especially when they haven’t been exercising much previously, and put their backs out. If you feel pain, it’s your body’s way of telling you to stop. Make sure that when you are having fun, listen to your body and its limits.
Be careful about how much you lift and watch your lifting technique. On a day when we often fill our eskies for parties, we can forget correct lifting techniques. Make sure you bend your knees and lift with a straight back. Use your legs to take the load, not your back. If the load feels too heavy, get someone to help you.
Watch for stress injuries. Our backs take a lot of strain a lot of the time. Most of the time they are pretty tough and don’t let us know that we are pushing things too far. Think about how your daily activities impact your back (even too much inactivity can impact your back). Be mindful of how your back feels and how you can relieve stress on it.
If you are traveling this Australia Day, these handy travel tips will help you enjoy the best time away:
- Take regular stretch breaks at least every one to two hours
- Tuck in your chin and roll your shoulders back every hour to loosen tight muscles
- Use back support, such as a small, rolled towel. Alternate behind the back and then between the shoulders.
- Sit upright with your head back before setting the position of your mirrors. This will remind you not to slouch.
- Stay well hydrated, sip water often.
- Pillows are light, so take a supportive pillow with you.
- Put your seat upright and ensure your tailbone is as far back in the seat as it can be, with shoulders and head as supported as possible by the seat.
If you are travelling by plane, most of these tips apply. In addition, where possible sit in an aisle seat to make it easier to regularly stretch and walk during the flight. Be careful lifting suitcases. Bend with your knees, not your back. Also, regularly roll your ankles in circles and point then flex your feet to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis.
Sleeping in an unfamiliar bed
If you are sleeping away from home this weekend here are some tips to protect your back and give you a good night’s sleep.
- Sleep on your back or side as much as possible, avoid sleeping on your stomach!
- If the bed is ‘saggy’, consider putting the mattress on the floor.
- Use a ceiling fan instead of air-conditioning where possible to avoid cold blasts of air on your neck or back.
- Compensate for dips in the mattress by placing a small, soft towel under your side.
- Always stretch after sleeping.
- Stay well hydrated, sip water often – but not too much before bed otherwise you will be up in the night!