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New year, new you: how to avoid neck and back pain when exercising

January the 1st is a time for a new start and a fresh outlook on life.

One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions people make is to improve physical health and exercise more. If this is your goal for 2024, especially if you’re not used to exercising, it’s essential to do it safely.

Whether you’ve signed up for a gym membership or are working out at home, here are our top tips for getting fit without experiencing back and neck pain.

Stretch before exercising

One of the easiest ways to avoid neck and back pain when exercising is by stretching beforehand. This increases blood flow to your muscles and loosens them up before exercise, increasing flexibility and reducing the risk of injury.

The best way to stretch is to do dynamic stretches like lunges and arm circles – the Fit Wheel is excellent for supporting your back while you stretch. Alternatively, light cardio, like a walk or jog, is fantastic for warming up your muscles.

Focus on your form

It’s vital to concentrate on quality over quantity when exercising. Aim to get the exercises right rather than doing them quickly.

This reduces the risk of stress on your muscles and ensures you get the most benefit from your exercise session.

Cool down after exercising

A good stretch is essential before exercise, but cooling down is important too. This boosts blood flow to your muscles and joints, reducing inflammation, loosening the muscles, and flushing out the lactic acid that can lead to soreness.

The Fit Stretch is a fantastic way to cool down after an exercise session – stimulating blood circulation and relieving tension in the upper and lower back.

Listen to your body

Nobody knows your body better than you do. While it might feel tempting to power through pain and discomfort, this can lead to serious health problems.

If you feel that something is wrong with your neck or back when exercising, stop and assess the situation. You can then determine whether to modify the exercise you’re doing or to call it a day.

Remember – exercise should be enjoyable, not painful!

Help! I think I’ve overdone it!

Feeling twinges in your neck and back after an intensive exercise session?

The best thing to do is apply ice – this reduces swelling, inflammation, and pain. Make sure the ice doesn’t directly touch your skin, and don’t ice for more than 20 minutes. Over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen and paracetamol can help too.

You can exercise with back and neck pain, but take it slowly and avoid anything high-impact.

If your neck and back pain lasts longer than a couple of weeks or is accompanied by numbness or shooting pains, we recommend getting it checked out.

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