As officials across the country implement shelter-in-place orders in response to covid-19, many Americans are spending a lot more time at home-many of them with a video game controller in hand. But there’s a drawback to spending hours a day replaying The Witcher 3: back pain. These days, with medical resources in many areas stretched to a breaking point, it’s a good time to put a little extra effort into avoiding preventable issues. Here are a few steps you can take to keep your back healthy:
Be hyper-aware of your posture. In the throes of a video game, you’re probably hunched forward, spine bent like a clamshell, thighs pulling double duty as makeshift armrests. You don’t need a doctor to tell you that sustaining such a position wreaks havoc on your back. Lean back and sit up straight.
Plant your feet firmly on the floor. Protecting your back means more than focusing solely on your back: You also have to look out for the other muscles in your body. Muscles don’t function in isolation; they’re part of a connected network.
Move around at least once an hour. Getting up and moving around is the best thing you can do to protect your spine. Experts don’t agree on how often you should get up-some suggest an hour; others, half an hour-or what exactly you should do for movement, but they’ll all tell you to periodically switch things up.
Support your spine. Investing in lumbar support is one way you can make sitting less of a strain on your body. There are many kinds of lumbar supports, from seat cushions to posture correctors. But you probably have all the ingredients in your home to make solid lumbar support without spending a penny.