One Small Habit: Got Back Pain? Start Hip Hinging.

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I'm starting a new "column" on my blog. In this column, I'll write about one small habit or change you can make in your life that is easily attainable. If you have any thoughts or feedback on this, please email me and let me know. This first post for "One Small Habit" is aimed at a large portion of our population: those with back pain.
Back pain is quite an epidemic these days. A large part of back pain, I believe, is simply due to  mindlessness. We pay absolutely no attention to how we treat our spine as we go about our daily activities. We round our spines while we stoop to lift heavy items, we lift up in a way that demands far too much from our back muscles and spinal column, we slouch in our car and at our desk, and we neglect to strengthen our backs. Why, then, are we so surprised that we start to develop back pain? Or bad posture?Because we are mindless about it.

I'll go into more detail on some easy ways to strengthen your back and core on future posts. For now, I'd like to leave you with this one small tip: hinge from your hips when bending over. All the time. Every time.

I am constantly "barking" at my yoga classes and those I work with when personal training about hip hinging. If you're a fitness enthusiast, you know exaaaactly what I'm talking about (please share this with all of your family and friends who frustrate you with their unhealthy movement patterns). If you don't know what I'm talking about, keep reading...

Hip Hinging is a basic/essential/foundational/super important tenet in physical fitness. It is a movement pattern that is vital for you to understand in order to have optimal back health. If you think I'm being dramatic, stop and think about how many times you bend over in a typical day. Even if you have a desk job, how about unloading groceries, putting on your shoes, doing laundry, picking up clutter around the house, gardening, picking up a child, feeding your dog, or if you're as clumsy as I am, constantly picking up things you drop. 🙂

Therefore, if you're constantly bending over in an unsupported way, it makes perfect sense that you would eventually develop some kind of back pain. You're basically putting too much strain on your spine.

The hip hinge can be explained in any of the following ways:
• Start a bending or squatting movement by hinging from your hips, as opposed to starting by bending your knees and/or rounding your spine.
• Bend as if you had a yardstick attached to your back, which prevents you from rounding the spine.
• Think of bending over by leading with your heart, not your face (again, another way to explain how to avoid rounding).
• Keep your spine neutral. Try not to slouch or slump. (And yet another way for me to tell you not to round your spine.)
Still unclear? Here's a short 2 minute video of ME (!!!) showing you how to hip hinge.

​Still not convinced of te importance of hip hinging? Here's an article straight from NPR about it: Lost Art Of Bending Over: How Other Cultures Spare Their Spines

Please take care of your spine! You only get one.

Love & Light.

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