This year for Spinal Health Week, the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (CAA) is telling everyone to “Back Your Inner Athlete“. According to WHO, nearly 1 in 3 of us – 30% of adults in the world – are stuck an inactive lifestyle rut. This can result in pressure on your spine, which leads to back pain, poor posture, headaches and fatigue, and even digestion and breathing issues.
So what is the answer? The CAA says we need to “activate performance” by refocussing on our spinal health and function, improving our posture and mobility, and living a healthy lifestyle. Thankfully, here at CANSTAR we know that there is a lot you can do to help your spine – and you can even claim some of it back on your health insurance.
Exercises that are good for your spine
Starting or finishing the day with any of these exercises can be a great way to work at maintaining the strength of your core muscles and keep your spine in line:
- Pilates and Yoga both strengthen your core muscles and stretch the muscles around your spine, helping you to keep better posture throughout the day. Be sure to tell your instructor if you experience any back pain, and replace all pain-inducing moves with softer moves that activate the same muscles.
- Walking or swimming both have a smooth, rhythmic motion that helps to strengthen your core muscles and align your spine. Swimming is especially good because the water supports your body and takes the weight off of your spinal discs and joints.
- Low impact weights training can strengthen your back and chest muscles to help them keep your spine aligned.
- Partial crunches are a great way to strengthen your core without putting pressure on your spinal discs and hips by doing full sit-ups.
- Press-up back extensions and “bridging” are a better way to realign your spine than push-ups or planking, which can put pressure on your spinal discs (especially if you do it wrong!).
Get appy about moving
Remember, sitting is the new smoking, but thanks to the smartphone there are now some super easy ways to get motivated about moving at home, at work, at school, and during retirement. The CAA recommends these two apps in particular:
- Measure and map out your walks.
- Share your walking progress on Facebook and Twitter.
- Monitor your progress via your walking history.
- Let the app navigate a walking route for you based on where you want to end up.
- Find a local walking group or walking event near you.
- Walking tips about how to perfect your posture while walking.
CAA Back app: Because your chiropractor can’t adjust your back 24/7.
- Posture reminder function reminds you regularly to “sit right”, take breaks, drink water, and manage your posture.
- Augmented Reality on three educational Spinal Health Week postcards means you can see a 3D illustration of how to improve your posture at work, your posture outdoors, and your posture while using digital devices.
- Important tips on how to reduce pain, improve posture, maintain spinal function, and a healthy lifestyle.
For more ideas, watch CAA’s motivational videos and follow the blog.
Health insurance for your back
Chiropractic care and physiotherapy are two therapeutic benefits that are both covered under many Extras policies. Gym membership is a third option that is covered by some Extras policies, which would give you access to classes or equipment to do the exercises we mentioned above. To get your back curving in all the right places, locate a chiropractor near you on the CAA website.
Check whether your policy covers chiropractic care, physiotherapy, and/or gym access. If it doesn’t, CANSTAR annually compares over 700 health insurance policies from 22 different providers to help you find a policy that suits you.
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