Slouching might be the “in” thing on red carpets, a popular posture for cool teens or overburdened older people, but it’s also one of many reasons that almost 80% of Americans will deal with spinal problems at some time in their lives. The thing is, most people can cure or prevent back pain. It’s never too early, or too late, to get started.
We don’t always think about the spine as a part of the central nervous system that also includes the brain and the millions of nerves (the peripheral nervous system) that send messages to the brain to control the functions of our bodies. If you have a spine that’s not healthy, this impacts the entire system and cause health issues like pain, numbness, weakness in the arms and legs, breathing problems, digestion issues and impaired control of the bowel and bladder.
Here are 7 things you can do to keep your spine healthy.
1. Stop slouching, just as mom always told you. Start paying attention to how you naturally stand and you’ll find yourself slouching more than you thought. Good posture is vital for a healthy spine and is considered keeping your ears aligned with your shoulders and the shoulder blades retracted. In the right alignment spinal stress is eased. Good posture has other health and wellness benefits according to researchers from San Francisco State University who found a link between poor posture and mood disorders like depression. Others believe poor posture could be associated with issues like weight gain, heartburn, migraines, anxiety and even respiratory issues.
2. Deep belly breathing can really help with posture. Do this by putting your hands on your abdomen and feeling your stomach area move as you inhale/exhale. Do this as often during the day as you can to improve your posture and the health of your spine itself. The deep belly breathing helps the spinal nerves move in the spinal channels, easing pain and providing a sense of genuine well being.
3. Targeted exercises can strengthen you at the core says the American College of Sports Medicine. Only 10 minutes a day is what you need to do these simple, spine-strengthening activities. Neck stretches can help with cervical spine; lift weights to improve posture and yoga poses open the chest and stretch the spine. Push-ups are another great exercise for the spine and muscles that help with posture.
4. What you eat impacts your spine, so follow a healthy, balanced diet that includes lean proteins, healthy fats and lots of fresh fruits and veggies. By doing this you have the best chance at a lean body with toned muscles able to support the spine. You can supplement your diet with multivitamins and B-complex and omega-3s as these have all been shown to help ease pain in the nerves of the spine.
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Seven Ways To Keep A Strong Healthy Back. Continued…
5. Spend some time in the sun each day. The sun can have a great effect on the body, spine included. Sunlight energizes the entire body, waking it up and encouraging you to stand tall. What’s more, sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, needed for strong, healthy bones and that includes the spinal column. You need 10 to 20 minutes in the sun each day to get enough.
6. Pay attention to your sleep as studies suggest that not getting enough sleep is linked to higher neck and back problems. You need to try and get between six and eight hours a night, and sleep in a position that lets the spin relax. The ideal sleeping position is on your side, as this puts the lowest amount of pressure on the spine.
7. Try meditation as this can restore alertness, help improve mood, increase productivity and even prolong your life. Of course there are also positive effects on your spine and posture as those who meditate tend to focus on the core of the body, automatically straightening their spines as part of the process.
To your good health,