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I've read that in morning the discs in spine are full of fluid and vulnerable so how much duration must I've wait after waking up to go out and play soccer without having any adverse effects? I understand a perfect time interval is difficult to decide but what would be a good enough interval?

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  • Where did you read this? Aug 4 at 12:09
  • Some website. Why? Is it wrong?
    – Kashmiri
    Aug 4 at 12:23
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    It's something I've never heard before, and so would like to look at the original claim to determine whether they're just making stuff up, or actually have evidence to back up their claim. Aug 4 at 14:29
  • @DavidScarlett -- I've heard the same thing and I believe it was said by McGill. Trouble is I can't find the study where he says this, just reddit posts and a link to a podcast. People blow it out of proportion though. You're not supposed to place the spine under heavy load immediately following bedrest but, no one flops out of bed and squats 405. If you get up, shower, eat, move, do anything for more than 30 minutes, you're fine. Should warm up before soccer anyways.
    – C. Lange
    Aug 4 at 14:57
  • @DavidScarlett -- I added the link into the chat. I don't think the ping worked.
    – C. Lange
    Aug 4 at 15:15
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Your discs are constantly filling up and reducing the amount of fluid inside them. The Spine Institute mentions

The water within these discs is squeezed out during the day from normal movements.

The spinal discs fill up while you're lying down at night so that they're at their fullest in the morning, therefore tighter and more vulnerable to damage.

Andy pointed in comments to this blog where Dr Stuart McGill, author of the book Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance:

...has made some fantastic observations on spine stiffness first thing in the morning. In a nutshell, when we lay down to sleep at night, our spine is decompressed, so the intervertebral discs actually collect water. This increased hydration status builds annular tension within the discs, and makes the spine stiffer overall. This isn't a good kind of stiffness, though; more stress is placed on the ligaments and discs than the soft tissue structures that typically protect them.

So when the discs are the fullest the stiffness can add stress to your spine.

This this LiveStrong article says:

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 30 minutes of low-impact aerobics is ideal following long periods of inactivity.

Eric Cressey's blog mentions:

if you're someone who plans to use some of these more challenging compound movements and have to exercise in the morning, I'd encourage you to get up 30 minutes early and just focus on standing up, whether it's to read the paper, pack your lunch, or take the dog for a walk.

So it seems the general consensus is that doing around 30 minutes of light exercise / stretches would be enough to warm up, of course it will depend on your personal situation: age / existing injuries / conditioning / etc.

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  • I didn't know this, is there an optimal time to workout where spine is less injury-prone? Makes sense why it seems like everyone I know always throws their back out in the morning
    – Ace Cabbie
    Aug 4 at 5:01
  • @AceCabbie I was going to call bs when I read the question but apparently it's good to wait a bit before working out heavy in the morning. Light activity should be fine. Anything later should be ok, since your body is already reasonably warmed up.
    – Luciano
    Aug 4 at 8:13
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    What about being filled with more fluid makes spinal discs vulnerable? Aug 4 at 8:57
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    @DavidScarlett indeed, I can find info on fluid shifts but no association with risks when fully hydrated.
    – Luciano
    Aug 5 at 8:27
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    ericcressey.com/…: "Dr. Stuart McGill has made some fantastic observations on spine stiffness first thing in the morning. In a nutshell, when we lay down to sleep at night, our spine is decompressed, so the intervertebral discs actually collect water. This increased hydration status builds annular tension within the discs, and makes the spine stiffer overall. This isn't a good kind of stiffness, though; more stress is placed on the ligaments and discs than the soft tissue structures that typically protect them."
    – Andy
    Aug 20 at 13:10

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