Everyone knows that as we age, aches and pains can be a feature of our daily lives. We move a little more slowly. We move a little (or a lot) less. But the truth is that reducing movement doesn’t prevent the aging of our bodies.
In fact, the converse is true.
The human body was made to move and how to keep your spine healthy as you age, at least in part, is by pursuing an intentional program of maintenance that keeps muscles, ligaments, and bones strong.
You’re in control of your lifestyle
One of the most important things to remember as you age is that you’re in control of your lifestyle. In an uncertain world, this is a factor you’re directly accountable for.
And personal accountability has plenty to do overall health. We can, for example, choose to maintain a healthy weight to support a healthier aging process. Excess weight puts undue stress on every part of your body, including your spine.
Smoking is another lifestyle choice we make. While it’s an addictive habit, millions of people have quit smoking in the past several decades and you can too.
You can also choose to pursue a program of gentle, spine-supportive movement, like Aquafit, walking, Yoga, or Tai Chi.
Posture and strength
Many people think little about their posture until it’s caused a problem in their spines. If that describes you, now’s the time to do something about negligent posture which may be putting undue pressure on your vertebrae.
If you spend a lot of time at work in a seated position, you need to ensure that the way you sit is supportive of a healthy spine. That means not craning your head toward the screen, sitting with your buttocks against the back of the chair (no perching) and engaging your abdominal muscles. Feet should be flat on the floor, also.
Be sure to get up and stretch at regular intervals to give your body a break. Being in a static position for extended periods can have a disastrous effect on the health of your spine.
Now’s the time to strengthen your core muscles, as these are the ones that support the structures of the spine. If you’ve never done a plank, it’s time to learn. This is one of the most efficient exercises in existence for building overall body strength.
Nutrition, hydration, and sleep
Proper nutrition, adequate hydration, and sufficient sleep are 3 of the most important contributors to spine health. Eliminating empty calories from your diet and replacing them with foods which are simple and nutritious is a key way to age well.
Hydration, whether you believe it or not, is a huge support to spine health. Your spinal discs need water to keep your vertebrae from rubbing against each other. And sleep? Either get yourself a supportive mattress or choose a memory foam mattress pad to support and cushion your body as you sleep.
Need help with an aging spine? The spine professionals at Spine Care NYC can help.