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[May 2019] The Center of the Body is the Center of Health
Date 05-07-2019 09:56 Hit237
The Center of the Body is the Center of Health
Three Essential Tips for Lower-Back Health

The lower back is found in the middle of the human body. As such, it plays a central role to the maintenance of body posture and operation. We can stand up, sit down, and lift heavy objects all because we can rely on this key anatomical part to function well.

Lower-Back Troubles as the Gateway to a Host of Illnesses

Donguibogam (“Principles and Practice of Eastern Medicine”) is a venerated text of medical knowledge written in the Joseon era and is included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. The author of this book compares the lower back to the “pillar” of the entire body. Lower-back troubles means troubles for the entire house. One may do everything to repair and tidy up other parts of one’s house, but the house will eventually fall if one neglects to care for its shaken pillar.
Maintaining a stooped position first interrupts the flow of blood and energy between the torso and the lower limbs. As less and less blood gets to the brain, memory loss and loss of concentration may occur. The autonomic nervous system also begins to decline.
With the lower back maligned, it becomes much easier to develop the forward head posture, a leading risk factor for a herniated cervical disk. A maligned lower back means stooped shoulders and chest, which leads to interruption in cardiopulmonary functions. The loss of a proper overall posture can also trigger pain and discomfort in various parts and internal organs of the body. Once the pillar goes, the entire house goes. That is why we must tend to the health of our lower backs.

Everyday Lower-Back Health Guide

① Maintain proper postures, whether standing or seated.

It is very important to maintain the natural shape of the spine as much as possible throughout the day. When sitting in a chair, for example, sit so that the back of your buttocks and your back would comfortably fit the back of the chair and keep your back straight. It is also good to stretch and open your chest from time to time while sitting. When walking, keep your spine, chest and shoulders open and straight. Feel your feet hit the ground from your ankle and forward and maintain a light and brisk pace.

② Do cardio exercises, such as walking outside, jogging, and swimming.

Swimming is especially recommended for lower-back health because it helps to tone and strengthen back muscles without applying excessive load to the lower back. Jogging regularly is also good because it tones the muscles of the body overall. If you find it difficult to take extra time for these exercises, you could perhaps try to walk more throughout the day. Walking under the sunlight is especially recommended because sunlight facilitates the synthesis of vitamin D in the body and strengthens the bones.

③ Exercise three helpful yoga postures.

[Cobra pose] The cobra posture in yoga is meant to straighten the back and the spine. Repeat the following five to ten times.

Lie on the floor on your belly. Bring your both hands close to your ears and place your palms on the floor. → Raise your upper body slowly by stretching your elbows. → Raise your chin to face the ceiling. → Maintain the posture for ten seconds, and descend slowly back to the floor, touching the floor with your belly first and working upwards.

[Cat pose] This posture flexes and stretches the spine. Repeat the following five to ten times.

Kneel on the floor slowly and bring your palms onto the floor, with both your hands and knees shoulder-width apart. → While inhaling slowly, raise your face and tilt your head backward, and lower your belly toward the floor so that your lower back would be curved downward. → Exhale slowly, lower your eyes and bring your head between your arms so that your back spine would be curved and raised upward. → Return to the original position.

[Bridge pose] This pose is good for toning the back muscles and stabilizing the pelvis. Repeat the following five times.

Lie comfortably on your back on the floor. → Raise your knees and bring your feet close to your buttocks, shoulder-width apart. Your palms should be placed on either side of your hips on the floor. Bring your ankles as close to your buttocks as possible. → Raise your buttocks and lower your back slowly. → Breathe comfortably, and maintain the raised posture for ten seconds on end. → Descend slowly, first touching the floor with your upper back, then your lower back, and finally with your buttocks. → Stretch your legs and turn your head sideways to relax.

What to Never Do

① Sit at the outer edge of the chair, with your back stooped.
② Wear a bag on only one shoulder repeatedly.
③ Take a nap by leaning your upper body against the top of your desk.
④ Stand for a long time in the same posture.
⑤ Sit cross-legged.