601.434.1991 mary@backcoach.net

How the Flatlander (who used to have “A Bad Back”) Hiked the Mountain

by Mary Williams, MSEd, CPE

Founder, BACKCoach™

July 27, 2010

I recently arrived in Colorado for our annual break-from-the-heat July adventures. On our second day here, I went for a hike on Mount Sopris, a climb that began at 8,353 feet and after 4 miles finished at 10,753’. The best part of this hike, as opposed to past attempts in previous years, was that it was so easy. Not bad for a flatlander who lives at ~60 feet above sea level!

After years of struggling with mountain hikes, there are three factors that I attribute this enjoyable experience to:

1)   Application of balanced posture technique

2)   Understanding of breathing from the diaphragm

3)   Training/conditioning/preparation

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Three-Step Plan for Regaining Lost Activities

If you experience persistent or periodic back pain, it may seem like the best thing to do is to stop doing activities that seem to harm it. But it is important to understand that your back and your body need to move regularly to function at its best and that participating in regular physical activity is an important step in recovery. In fact, “protecting” you back through inactivity may be contributing to the pain.

It may also be important to step back into physical activity gradually, both to get your body used to activity again and to convince yourself that it is beneficial to be active.

If you’ve been inactive for a prolonged period of time, you may need to use a gradual approach. Your muscles and joints may be tight and your cardiovascular system may not be at its best. Try this simple, three-step plan to regaining all activities, adapted from Dr. Ronald’s Siegel’s Back Sense program. (more…)

Restricting Activities Prolongs Back Pain

Kayaking_in_Costa_RicaWhen people first experience back pain, many will respond by cutting back on activities. This is a natural reaction and very useful in other circumstances such as breaking a bone or coming down with the flu. There are many circumstances for which resting and taking some time off from physical activity is recommended and useful for recovery and to allow the body to heal.

Unfortunately, this is an approach that rarely works with back pain, especially after the first day or so following the initial onset of pain. Here’s why. (more…)

On movement and back health

Our bodies are designed to move and when we allow our bodies movement, we begin to feel better. We can’t help but feel better because we are doing what we were designed to do and born to do. Once we have the experience of feeling good, our bodies will always remember this feeling, on a cellular level, and it will want it again.

Self-efficacy is an impression that we have of how successful we will be in the future based on similar experiences from our past. We have negative self-efficacy when we look back on negative experiences to predict the future. We build positive self-efficacy, or the belief/confidence that we can do something when we create successes for ourselves. Each successful experience, no matter how large or how small, will convince us of our ability to be successful again.

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