Generally speaking, the spine serves as your body’s main support structure and foundation. Curved slightly into an “S” shape, the spine consists of 33 vertebrae that keep your head and lower body aligned by balancing your neck, back, and chest. The spine also protects your spinal cord, which acts as a vital link between your nervous system and organs.
As you grow older, you may experience some form of degradation within the discs, cartilage, and pads that make up your spine. But regardless of your age, you need to be mindful of how your lifestyle and habits may affect your spine’s health. To help you on the road to having a healthier spine, here are some good habits you may want to start doing now:
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Incorporate the Right Ingredients into Your Meals
You may not realize it, but your diet plays a big role in your spine’s health. To be specific, a regular intake of foods rich in nutrients such as Omega 3s and B-complex will help you achieve lean muscles and stronger bones.
Omega-3 is instrumental in bone-building and reducing muscle soreness, which could make exercises and daily tasks more manageable for you. B-complex vitamins, on the other hand, promote red blood cell growth that can aid in dispelling infections.
Vitamin B-complex is also known to improve cell metabolism, brain function, and energy levels, which all contribute to an effective diet and exercise regimen.
In addition, eating foods rich in calcium and foods rich in Vitamin D decreases your chances of developing osteoporosis later in life. Essentially, your body needs Vitamin D to better absorb nutrients like phosphorous and calcium from the food you ingest.
These nutrients are vital for keeping bones strong and preventing osteoporotic fractures. Osteoporosis—a condition that causes your bones to become brittle and weak—can lead to other spinal complications such as scoliosis, which requires comprehensive expert treatment to properly manage.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
On a related note, maintaining a healthy diet can help you better manage your weight, which, in turn, can help keep your spine in good condition. Excess fats can distort your spine’s natural curve and press on your vertebrae discs, which leads to additional pressure on your nerves and excess strain on the ligaments and muscles supporting your back. These effects can render one vulnerable to back injuries.
That said, you may want to cut back on foods that have inflammatory effects, such as red meats, processed foods, and refined sugar. These foods increase acid production in your body, resulting in heightened inflammation that causes weight gain.
Strengthen Your Back with Simple Exercises
Strengthening your core muscles—the ones located in your abdomen and lower back—and keeping your spinal discs, ligaments, and joints functioning properly can go a long way toward maintaining your spine health. Fortunately, you don’t need an overly complex gym routine to make your spine stronger.
Simple workouts such as ear-to-shoulder stretching, side-to-side bending, and deep breathing can be done at home or in the office to exercise your spine.
If you don’t have a gym membership or can’t make time for one, you can opt to do uncomplicated physical activities such as walking, cycling, and yoga instead. Swimming is also a good form of exercise, as water has enough buoyancy and viscosity to support your spine and relieve stress from it.
Always Mind Your Posture
Maintaining good posture is a no-brainer when it comes to spinal health. That said, avoid slouching to prevent muscle tension and fatigue, which often leads to bad posture. Instead, keep your back straight and your head up to prevent your spinal column from being subjected to excessive pressure, regardless if you’re sitting or standing.
Additionally, avoid prolonged sitting at work, as this leads to poor posture along with the onset of more body fat around your waist. Moreover, sitting down for long periods can lead to other health risks such as increased cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Make it a habit to move around once in a while to get a little exercise in and promote better blood flow in your body.
You may also want to consider investing in well-designed chairs and standing desks for your workspace. These can better support your back and keep your spine properly aligned, helping you keep your posture in check.
HP Thoughts: Sometimes you need a professional to help your cope with your back and spine troubles. Read our post to find out more — Best Physical Therapist To Your Sciatica.
A Healthier Foundation for Life
While there are a lot of treatments and therapies to manage or correct spine problems, you can prevent these issues from happening in the first place by including some good practices in your daily routine.
Ultimately, the key to improving your health is having the right mindset, one where keeping tabs on your overall well-being remains the priority. By knowing the importance of and your personal reasons for taking care of your body, you’ll have an easier time staying on track toward a healthier life.