These free exercises will help you maintain your mobility and avoid back and neck pain as you age.
Spinal Mobility - So Important to Maintain as we Age
Spinal mobility is something most people do not think about when they are young. After all, we are born so flexible and can move in pretty much any direction without having a second thought about it. We run, play, twist, jump and do physical activities with our friends all day long.
As we age, we start to get into a routine in our lives. Day after day, we do repetitive activities such as going to work. At work we may be sitting at our computer for 8 hours. We may be bend over and twisting one way during the course of the day. We may be lifting and carrying objects the same way day after day. We sit and drive home and to work. We tend to even sleep the same way day after day.
Take a look at your life. You may find that like most of us, you have a posture that is bent forward (flexed) most of the time during the day and evening. You will find that in our society we tend to work with our arms out in front of us. We tend to sleep with our spine in a flexed position. We usually have our heads out forward (forward head posture). Our shoulder blades tend to be rounded to the front of our bodies (protracted posture). This occurs due to the way our society has gone. Those devices and amenities that made our life better are also causing issues down the road.
The problem is by the time we realize we have lost our mobility, balance, and strength it is too late. It happens slowly, decade by decade our tissues tend to tighten up and we over use certain areas of our joints more than other areas. We tend to lose extension and rotation in our lower and mid spine (lumbar and thoracic spine). We compensate by overusing one area of the spine and under use other areas. Losing mobility of the mid spine can even affect the efficiency and ability to breath.
You might notice by the time you hit your 30's that you feel a little stiff rotating your spine or extending your back. By the time you are 50, if you have not been actively working on rotation and extension in your spine you will find it very difficult to do this smoothly and efficiently. You might find you can still do it, but it is an effort. If one were to observe you, they might notice that when you move, your mobility is not done smoothly with all your joints. You would observe just a few joints moving excessively to compensate for the lack of movement of the other joints. This can lead to issues over time, including stiffness, pain, arthritis and muscle imbalances.
By getting into a routine and performing these simple stretches, it can make such a difference as you age. By doing just 5 reps daily of these spinal mobility stretches you can help avoid the loss of mobility that is bound to happen as you age. Think about it logically. Think about your daily routine. Whatever your spine does for most of the day and night, it is very important to balance that by stretching your spine in the opposite direction daily. This will help prevent the issues that are seen daily in medical practices that treat elderly patients.
Download the exercises (in pdf format) below:
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