At least once in everyone’s life, you’re going to experience back pain. Whether it’s mild, severe or chronic there is just no escaping the simple fact that our back muscles and vertebrae take most of the strain on our bodies. The older you get, the greater the chances of throwing out your back becomes. One of those unavoidable facts of life. But with a common-sense approach to your physical activities you can go a long way towards avoiding back pain.

1. Always Stretch

If you’re a typical 9 to 5 office worker, then you save up a lot of fun for the weekends. But if your back hasn’t been working out Monday through Friday then come the big game on Saturday you could be in for a world of hurt. Stretching before any physical activity can help but if you really want to prevent a major back strain find some time to work out those muscles during the week.

2. Exercise the Right Way

Which slides nicely into the next tip: make sure you’re exercising the right way. This is where the classic “lift with your legs and not your back” comes into play but are you really doing that in the gym? If you’re going to be lifting, then keep the weight close to you because the further the stretch, the bigger the chance for back strain. And as much as you want to impress, you shouldn’t be lifting anything heavier that 20% of your own body weight.

3. Bend it Right

Also, watch out for that dropped pencil. Even bending over to pick up something feather weight can cause a back spasm if you’re not focused on your core muscles. Try this: when bending over, tighten your abs to take the pressure of the back.

4. Move Around

And just because you sit all day doesn’t mean you should be sitting all day. Getting up and moving around does great things for your back. Why not put a couple of phone calls on speaker and walk around your office? There are even some devotees of strong backs who don’t have chairs in their office. The standing desk means you’ll literally be standing all day. Extreme? Yes, but good for the back!