Natalie’s fitness routine: How I stay healthy after back surgery

LSINatalie_156As an LPGA player, fitness has always been important to me. When I was suffering from chronic neck and back pain, participating in any physical activity — not just golf — was a challenge. Before my surgery at Laser Spine Institute, it seemed like everything I tried to do just irritated my back pain even more. And for someone who loves to be active, living like this was difficult.

I lived with my back pain for 10 years before I had surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Those first few steps after my surgery seemed surreal — almost like a dream because I felt so much better. My surgeon at Laser Spine Institute recommended that I give my body some time to heal before jumping right back into my regular fitness routine, but he encouraged that I maintain my weight. He told me that even a slight weight gain of 10 pounds would add extra strain to my back and could lead to an injury.

Now, five years after my surgery, I am still determined to keep my back as healthy as possible to avoid future pain. I took my doctor’s advice and eased back into a workout routine to keep my back and core muscles strong. Here are some tips to help you stay active and avoid back pain:

  • Track your fitness. The key to achieving any goal is to track your success. I use a Fitbit to track the calories I burn throughout the day and the ones that I eat. I highly recommend that you use a similar device to track your fitness level and food. A device such as Fitbit allows you to see how active you really are throughout the day.
  • Get outside. Sometimes just changing your scenery can prompt you to be more active. So find ways to be outdoors more often and break away from the TVs and technology for a bit. Go for short walks throughout the day or move your workout to the great outdoors. There’s nothing quite as refreshing as an outdoor yoga session.
  • Eat healthy foods. I make a point to eat healthy six days a week. I try to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible as well as lean proteins and healthy fats. A healthy diet can go a long way to helping you maintain your weight.
  • Choose a cheat day. Like I said, I eat healthy six days per week. On Sunday, I give myself a cheat day. I chose Sunday as my cheat day because this is usually the day after my tournaments. If there is a family birthday party or special event during the week, I may move the cheat day, but normally it is always Sunday. This day shocks my system, but on Monday, I am back on track to eating healthy.
  • Weigh-in weekly. I weigh myself weekly — every single Friday. I don’t weigh myself everyday because our bodies fluctuate throughout the week, so picking one day per week will help you know how you’re doing. You’ll find that you’re able to maintain a healthy weight more easily with regular weigh-ins.

Following this method has allowed me to maintain a healthy weight for years and not gain any extra weight that would add strain to my back. And Laser Spine Institute helped me find relief from my chronic back pain and allowed me to stay healthy.

If you’re suffering from chronic neck or back pain, I encourage you to reach out to Laser Spine Institute to learn how they can help you find relief.

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