These days a lot of our daily lives are spent doing very little physically. Technology has made it possible to operate much of our lives from the comfort of our arm chairs with the only physical effort required being that of a couple of presses of a button from our fingertips.

The negative effects of this modern sedentary lifestyle are widely advertised these days but we have become complacent and often ignore the signs. As a Personal Trainer and Fitness Professional I often help people who say to me, ‘I didn’t realise I was so unfit’ or the ‘weight just crept on’, when in reality we start to see the signs early on but just deny them until it becomes an unmanageable problem and then people often don’t know where to start and so don’t.

Left unchecked, this sedentary lifestyle can have very negative implications on the musculoskeletal system. It does not provide sufficient movement for the back muscles and when the effects of this start to appear they often manifest as back pain. When you are not physically active your posture suffers, the muscles in the back , particularly those running down the spine (erector spinae) that help you stand and support the spine effectively become underused and they become weak and when poor strength meets with too large a force (maybe when you are lifting a heavy box or bag, or gardening) damage will occur to the ligaments and tendons, causing us to experience back pain. This can affect us in the short and the very long term which in turn then reduces our quality of life both physically and mentally. Keeping mobile and active is important to maintain optimum musculoskeletal health. Research by the BMA suggests that insufficient exercise will increase the risk of back problems. It doesn’t take Einstein to work out that if you are fit your muscles will be stronger and more flexible and you will recover more easily from injury or illness than a less active and unfit person; Your bones will be stronger too (particularly if you incorporate some weight bearing exercises in your routine) This is most important as you advance in years to help your bones retain their strength for longer. It’s not just the back though that you need to concentrate on . The abdominals are a group of muscles that are often underused in our daily activities. If they are not attended to they will become slack and weak and distort the spine forcing it to take more weight. When they are strong and toned they will help support the spine which will help reduce any stress on the lower spine area which is often a very common area associated with back pain. Another area that can affect the back is tight hamstrings (at the back of the legs). When working effectively these muscles lengthen as you bend forward, making the hips do the work. However, when they are tight, your back has to bend further thus increasing the risk of injury.

Exercise and mobility of the body is crucial for the health of your back, your mind and indeed your body and wellbeing as a whole. As I’ve explained in the article, what you may perceive as ‘back pain’ can originate elsewhere in the body. Exercise is important at any age but even more so for adults 65 and over. Recent research by the NHS suggests that this demographic spend an average of 10 hours (sometimes more) each day either sitting or lying.This makes them the most sedentary age group.Staying active in this age group helps you maintain your energy levels, helps reduce the risk of falls and helps keep your independence to do the things you enjoy, like playing with the grandchildren, for longer, without aches and pains.

So, in conclusion If you want to reduce aches and pains, keep mentally active and socially interactive and independent well into old age, the best advice I can stress to you is to keep moving! Simple!

There are many ways you can get active, but why not join a class with a professional instructor who can help you with the right exercise plan for you? You can chat through any concerns and any health issues you may have so that you can perform your exercises safely and effectively. Classes are also a great way of keeping socially interactive too and making new friends. So what are you waiting for? Take the plunge and get your back, back in motion!