Back pain is an ever-increasing problem nowadays with 80% of Americans expected to experience it at some point during their lifetime.
Part of the reason for this is that people tend to live more sedentary lives and spend lots of time sitting down at home, work and behind the wheel of their cars.
So, if you want to buck this trend and avoid becoming another back pain statistic then you need to be mindful of your lifestyle and become more active instead. A great way to do this is through regular exercise.
Exercise will keep your body strong, flexible and able to support your back to withstand the pressure and strain placed on it throughout the day. One of the best exercises you can do to keep your back healthy and pain free is yoga.
As it’s a low-impact activity that is great for flexibility, core strength, keeping you balanced and improving your posture.
However, despite these benefits most yoga classes are still dominated by women.
As many men remain reluctant to give it a try due to outdated stigmas that exist in certain environments that consider yoga as an ‘activity for girls’ or something that doesn’t give them a ‘proper’ workout. And they are terrified of being the butt of their mates jokes if anyone found out they’d been to a yoga class!
But this is a big mistake and men need to get over their yoga stigma, because it could be the thing that helps them get rid of their persistent back pain once and for all.
Why Is Yoga So Good for Your Back?
There have been many scientific studies over the years that have shown yoga to be a really helpful activity for people with back pain.
But how exactly does it help?
Here are 8 reasons that yoga is great for guys with back pain:
- With yoga, you’ll improve your flexibility
- Get stronger in your core with regular yoga
- You’ll stand taller and improve your balance when you do yoga
- Get the blood flowing through your body with a yoga practice
- Decrease all that stress and tension by breathing in yoga
- Sleep like a baby (who’s not crying) with a good yoga session
- Get those happy endorphines going through your body (yay yoga)
- Make your mind happy with a focus on yourself in yoga
(1) Yoga Makes You Flexible Which Relieves Pressure on Your Back
The stretches and postures you go through during a yoga session all work to lengthen and strengthen your muscles. These stretches are great for your back, as it makes your body more flexible by keeping your muscles loose and relaxed.
Plus, staying loose and flexible like this will keep you nicely balanced and able to spread any pressure evenly across your body throughout the day. This means your lower back won’t come under the burden of any extra strain and can stay free and relaxed instead.
All this means you’ll feel much less pain and tension in your back.
(2) It Strengthens Your Core to Give Your Back Better Support and Protection
Your deep-lying core muscles do a great job of supporting and protecting your back as you go about your daily business.
And this support is especially needed if you get involved with activities that involve powerful movements such as gardening, manual labor tasks, and competitive sports.
Because if your core is weak then your back gets put under real pressure that makes pain and injuries far more likely.
So, maintaining a strong core is really important if you want to avoid this and yoga is a great way to do it (check out our 7-week Core Kickstart Program if you’re looking for that kick to do more core work).
Many of the poses in yoga require you to support your own body weight, which helps to strengthen your whole body but is especially good for strengthening your core muscles.
So, regular yoga practice can really help to give your back the support and protection it needs to avoid pain.
(3) Yoga Improves Your Posture and Balance
Maintaining a healthy posture, whether sitting, standing, or moving around, is another important component of keeping you back healthy and happy. Because when you hold yourself in a hunched or unbalanced posture your body comes under intense pressure from the forces of gravity.
And it has to compensate to withstand these pressures, with certain areas such as your lower back taking on most of the burden.
So, it’s no surprise if your back starts to ache during the day if your posture sucks!
However, if you learn to hold yourself in a balanced and healthy posture you can spread this pressure evenly across your body instead. Which takes the strain off your back and allows it to withstand the pressure much more easily.
And a good starting point to work on your posture is by practicing yoga. (In fact, our program, CounterFlow Yoga Balance, is all about helping you improve your balance through yoga).
While the increased core strength you get from yoga makes it much easier to hold your body upright naturally while remaining relaxed and comfortable.
So, you’ll be better balanced and more capable of maintaining a healthy posture naturally with regular yoga sessions.
And your back will feel a lot better as a result.
(4) Yoga Improves Your Circulation
Your blood needs to be able to circulate freely around your body to keep your muscles, tissues and organs healthy; and this is also important for keeping your back free from pain too.
As it’s through this blood circulation that your body can deliver the oxygen and nutrients that your back muscles need to repair, heal and recover.
While also flushing away any trapped waste and toxins that can lead to painful inflammation if not dealt with.
However, when your back muscles are tight and sore it can cause a blockage that prevents the blood from getting through and working its magic.
So, keeping your muscles loose and flexible through regular yoga practice is a great way of keeping these pathways open and improving your circulation. Meaning the muscles and tissues in your back can get the nourishment they need to stay relaxed and healthy rather than feeling stiff and sore.
(5) Yoga Is Great for Relieving Stress and Tension
Allowing yourself to become tense and stressed out is bad news for your back.
Because we tend to hold any tension like this within our bodies and this can lead to tight muscles and hunched postures that will just exacerbate your back pain.
So, you need to learn to relax and let go of stress to live a life free from pain.
However, that’s not as easy as it sounds when your back pain is persistent.
As the nagging aches and pains make it hard not to feel anxious, angry and frustrated.
But if you’re not careful this can become a vicious circle where your pain makes you feel stressed and this added stress then causes you more pain.
So, how do you go about relieving this stress and tension?
Well studies have shown that yoga can be a great way to do this.
As when you stretch your body and control your breathing during yoga practice you calm your nervous system and your heart rate slows down.
Which will leave you in a more relaxed and content state afterward that is ideal for keeping your muscles loose and comfortable.
Helping you to unwind and maintain a healthier and happier back.
(6) You’ll Sleep Well After A Yoga Class
Being able to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis is another key element of staying free from back pain.
As it’s during sleep that your body gets the chance to rest, repair and heal itself from the previous day’s stresses and strains; and your tired and aching back muscles really need this time to be able to recover and feel refreshed again in the morning.
Because when you don’t get enough high-quality sleep then you wake up feeling stiff and sore instead and the pain cycle starts all over again.
But the good news is that practicing yoga can help you to sleep like a baby afterwards.
As the stretches relax and soothe your muscles while the deep controlled breathing calms your nervous system and relieves stress.
Leaving you in the ideal relaxed state to be able to drift off into a deep and restorative sleep.
Oh, and one study from the Harvard Medical School found that yoga was so effective at this that it even helped people with chronic insomnia to fall asleep and sleep longer and more deeply afterwards.
So, if you struggle with your sleep then you should definitely consider giving yoga a try, as this will give your back the chance to get the rest and recovery time it needs to stay healthy. All this will work wonders for getting rid of any lingering back pain.
(7) It Encourages the Release of Endorphins
When you indulge in any form of exercise it encourages the release of endorphins in your body.
It’s these endorphins that give you such a warm, happy and satisfied feeling inside afterwards.
Which for me is one of the best things about exercising!
The good news for anyone who suffers from back pain is that endorphins are also the body’s natural painkiller.
This means not only do they make you feel good, they will quieten your pain down too.
So, by staying active you can get a regular supply of endorphin hits which is a great way to keep your back pain under control.
And yoga is as good an activity as any to do this.
So, get on your yoga mat for some natural pain relief and good vibes.
(8) Yoga Puts You in A Positive Frame of Mind That Helps You to Beat Back Pain
You need to be mentally strong to be able to manage and live with persistent back pain.
Because the constant nagging aches and pains can really take a toll on you mentally and emotionally otherwise.
So, keeping a positive mindset is vital.
As this will give you the ‘can do’ attitude that allows you to live the kind of lifestyle that will keep you free from pain.
Making regular yoga practice a part of your routine can really help you to do this.
Because yoga is far more than just exercising your body; the controlled breathing, mindful movements, and spiritual aspects of it are also great for keeping you relaxed and happy mentally and emotionally as well.
And this will leave you far better equipped to overcome pain and live a healthier and better quality of life.
So, it makes sense for men to get over any silly stigmas they may have and give yoga a chance.
How to Get Started
So, you’ve read this far and want to feel some of these benefits of yoga for yourself but don’t know where to start?
Well, you have two main options which are joining a yoga class or practicing yoga at home via online videos and classes (we’ve got lots for you on GXunited.TV).
Now the former can feel a bit daunting at first.
As you may be worried about looking silly and not knowing what you’re doing in front of a classful of experienced yoga fanatics.
So, it’s a good idea to look for a beginner’s yoga class in your local area and build up your confidence gradually. Also try to find a Hatha yoga class as this is the style of yoga that is more gentle and better suited to those just starting out.
But if you really can’t stomach the thought of going to an actual yoga class then check out online yoga classes.
We’ve got a good library here on GXunited.TV, but if you’re searching for classes that are geared specifically towards guys, then check out BrogaYoga or ManFlowYoga.
So, don’t let the male stigma and false preconceptions of yoga stop you from giving it a try.
Because not only will your back feel much better for practicing yoga, it’s also great for your overall health and well-being too.