Follow Men’s Health advice so you don’t set yourself up for serious pain:
Your Weekend Warrior!
If you’re deskbound five out of seven days, “the muscles that serve as a scaffolding for your spine won’t have the endurance to protect you,” says Alice Chen, MD, a physiatrist with the Hospital for Special Surgery. Help them out with exercises.
Extra Pounds on Your Belly!
Excess fat stresses your lower back, often a counterweight to your belly, says Dr. Chen. Fat in the spine can also compressed nerves in the spinal canal. Get strong: In a Harvard study, men who strength-trained 20 minutes a day gained less gut than guys who did cardio.
Mixing Deadlifts and Down Dogs!
Vertebral discs are made of collagen. When you bend with yoga, the collagen softens to adapt, says Stuart McGill, PhD, the author of Back Mechanic. When you lift heavy weights the collagen stiffens. Mixing the two training styles often leads to back problems.
Your Extended Happy Hours!
Alcohol curbs healing, limits blood flow to discs, and can irritate spine-supporting muscles, causing pain, Dr. Chen says. Back pain? Limit drinks to two a day. If you have degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc, heavy drinking may hinder your recovery.