While that may be true, there are several aspects apart from regular exercise that runners should keep in mind in order to avoid lower back pain.
Eighty per cent of the world population suffers from back pain at some point in their life. Exercise is an ideal solution to this problem, making marathon runners free of any back related problems
Lack of sleep: Not getting adequate shuteye means your muscles have note received enough rest. This will leave you more vulnerable to injury.
Inadequate hydration: Hydration helps cool down your body and muscles. Lack of hydration causes muscle cramp due to loss of fluid and electrolyte. It also reduces blood volume resulting in fatigued back muscles.
Inadequate or inconsistent training prior to the marathon: A minimum of 3-6 months of training is required before you run a marathon. Last minute training especially after long periods of inactivity can leave you prone to spine injury. Core and limb training should be part of your strengthening programme.
Not getting a spine function test: If you want to be prepared, a spine function test is a must. It measures the strength, mobility and flexibility of your spine and identifies weak muscle groups. This can help a spine specialist or your trainer individualise their training programme for better results.
Wearing wrong or old footwear: Your shoes are in good condition for a maximum of three months if you are a runner. Wear and tear reduces the condition of even the most expensive footwear. Always choose shoes with a good biomechanical fit for a safe run.
Not warming up: A good warm up can accelerate the supply of energy to your muscles. It also increases lung capacity for your actual run. Incorporating some warm up exercises and stretches for the spine can prepare the back muscles for increased activity prior to the run, making your run more efficient.
The author is a senior Spine Specialist, QI Spine Clinic
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