Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: February 1, 2018
The Olympics are almost here, and soon the world’s best competitors will be going head to head for the chance at a gold medal. These olympians have been training for years to perfect their craft, and there’s more to it than just making sure their technique is on point. They also have to make sure their whole body is as healthy and fit as can be.
With that in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to share some ways olympians keep their spine in top shape as they prepare for the games. Below, we share some tips for working towards Olympic-level spine health.
When you’re at the gym, you’re probably more focused on your arms or legs, but if you want to have a healthy spine, don’t ignore your core. Core exercises will help to improve the muscles and structures that support your spine, so be sure to add planks and medicine ball sessions to your routine.
Whether you’re performing a lift or simply sitting at your work desk, it is very important to be aware of your posture. Even if you’re just sitting, your spine and discs are stressed if poor posture is putting abnormal stress on your body. Try to avoid slouching, and keep your head positioned directly over your shoulders. If you’re concerned about your posture when lifting, ask a friend or trainer to observe your posture during your sets.
Olympians aren’t feasting on french fries and soda, and you shouldn’t either. That’s not to say they don’t indulge once in a while, but the majority of their diet comes from healthy options like fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Try to cut back on the saturated fats and sugars, because this can contribute to weight gain, which will put more stress on your spine, or contribute to the onset of spinal inflammation. Also, be sure to drink water and stay hydrated throughout the day, as this helps you avoid dehydration-related spine injuries, like strains or sprains.
Kick The Unhealthy Habits
We all have our vices, but it’s unlikely that Olympic athletes regularly smoke cigarettes or abuse alcohol. Both of these substances break down healthy structures in our spine, which can make it harder for healthy blood to reach these areas, or they can cause inflammation to develop. Try to cut back on your smoking or alcohol intake, and your spine will thank you for it.
Olympic athletes don’t just jump right into activity, they slowly and methodically warm their bodies up to ensure their muscles are ready for the intense activity to come. If you’re going to move some heavy boxes or go for a run, give yourself a couple minutes to stretch and help your muscles transition from a resting to an active state. This will help prevent against spinal muscle strains or tears.
Good luck to all our olympians who will be competing in South Korea. We’ve got your back!