If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought as to how you can protect your lower back throughout the day. This may lead to immediate discomfort, and over time can add up to serious problems.

lumbar herniated disc A lumbar disc herniation is a common cause of lower back pain in people 30 to 60 years old.
Back Care for Lower Back Pain

There is no guaranteed way to avoid all lower-back-related problems, but your lower back will thank you if you do these 3 easy things:

Watch Video: 5 Overlooked Tips to Protect Your Lower Back

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1. Leave your chair every 20 minutes

Your body can safely withstand being in the same position for only 20 minutes. If you remain in the same position for longer, you can diminish the elasticity of your soft tissues (your lower back muscles, ligaments, and tendons). In turn, this can place extra stress on your lower back and cause discomfort.

See Lumbar Spine Anatomy and Pain

So if you spend all day in front of a computer for work, it’s vital that you find ways to keep moving. For example, every 20 minutes stand up and stretch, walk around, or, at the very least, change sitting positions.

See Office Chair: Choosing the Right Ergonomic Office Chair

You can also utilize a standing desk to help limit the time you spend sitting during the day.

See Work Ergonomics: Minimize Back Injuries

2. Try low-impact aerobic exercise

Exercises like swimming, biking, and the use of an elliptical machine are gentle on your spine—and they can help resolve and prevent lower back problems. For example, low-impact aerobic exercises encourage healing in your lower back by spurring the flow of blood and nutrients to the area. Additionally, such exercises help you to control your weight—which prevents additional stress from being placed on your spine.

See Home Exercise Equipment for Low Impact Aerobic Exercise

Regardless of which low-impact aerobic exercise you choose, try to work your way up to elevating your heart rate for at least 20 minutes at a time.

See Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise

3. Eat a healthy diet

If you are overweight, your excess pounds may be contributing to your back pain. For example, one way obesity can lead to lower back pain is by causing your pelvis to be pulled forward, which places strain on your lower back.

See Weight Loss for Back Pain Relief

In combination with a regular exercise program, eating a healthy diet can help you maintain an appropriate weight—and so protect your lower back from additional stress. Try to avoid processed foods, and instead eat lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other foods high in vitamins like A, D, and C.

See Food for Thought: Diet and Nutrition for a Healthy Back

One key to preventing lower back injuries is to be proactive. So don’t delay in making these 3 easy things part of your daily routine—your lower back will most definitely thank you.

Watch: 3 Simple Ways to Indulge Your Spine

Learn more:

Low Back Pain in Older Adults

Back Care for Lower Back Pain