Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 16, 2018
According to findings from the Nielsen company, the average American watches more than five hours of television a day. Maybe you watch a lot less than that, but most people are still watching at least an hour of television every day. Even if you’re not watching television, odds are you’re doing other activities on your couch, like reading or checking out things on your phone.
Watching television or browsing the web is an easy way to relax after a long day at the office, but it’s not very good for your spine. That said, if you make a couple changes to how you watch television, you can prevent problems and even strengthen your spine while you watch. Below, we share some tips for strengthening your spine when you’re doing a passive activity like watching television or a movie.
Strengthening Your Spine On The Couch
Here are some things you can do to prevent spine pain from becoming a problem when you’re watching television.
- Move – Every 30-45 minutes, be sure you’re getting up and moving around for at least five minutes. Aside from promoting healthy blood flow, this will also take some pressure off muscle groups that are being stressed when you’re seated. You may not think you’re straining your muscles when you’re sitting on the couch, but sitting in one spot for an extended period will put elongated stress on some spinal structures. Breaking up this stress with movement can prevent problems from developing.
- Stand, Walk or Run – Instead of breaking up a sitting session by moving around, try being active throughout your show. Set up a treadmill near your television and run or walk while you binge your favorite show. Most people will tune out the exercise and focus on the television, so it won’t even feel like you’re working out. It’s a win-win! If putting a treadmill in the room isn’t feasible, simply switch between sitting or standing while you watch the show. Stand until the next commercial break, or sit only during commercial breaks. This again will help blood flow to your spine and extremities.
- In-Home Exercises – You can take it a step further by doing an exercise or stretching routine while you watch television. Do your yoga or pilates routine while you watch your favorite show, or find some stretches online that can help with specific types of back pain. Low-intensity stretching and exercising can turn a passive activity into one that benefits your spine.
- Posture Checks – Finally, if you’re dead set on staying seated throughout your television watching experience, at least make it a priority to evaluate your seated position at regular intervals. Sit up straight and make sure your head is positioned directly above your shoulders. If you’re slouched or leaning forward, you’re going to be putting added stress on the cervical portion of your spine. Whether you’re watching television, scrolling through Facebook on your phone or reading a book, make sure your neck and back are in a good position for the activity.
For more ways to protect and strengthen your spine while you read or watch television, or to talk to a spine specialist about your back pain, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s clinic today.