It happens to the best of us.
Our hair greys if we're lucky enough to keep it.
We're not quite as fast as we used to be.
It takes us a little longer than usual to remember things.
It's inevitable; our clocks never stop ticking, and we all get older.
In the 1960s the average American woman lived to be 73 with the average male making it to 66.
These days we are all living longer, with women making it to 82 and most men making it to the ripe old age of 76.
Since we're living longer, most people also want those extra years to be healthy and productive.
It helps to regularly visit a back pain doctor too.
Nobody wants to spend their last days withering away in a nursing home, a shell of their former selves.
So we're doing all we can to maintain our health so we can enjoy our golden years.
One of our most fragile body parts, and the one that typically shows its age first is our backs.
As a collection of bones, discs, and muscles that keep us upright and moving, when our back is bad, it affects our entire bodies.
To maximize our chances of remaining active and mobile in our old age, there are a few things we should do to keep our backs healthy.
We'll talk about them below.
Table Of Contents
- Maintain Healthy Body Weight
- Say No To Tobacco
- Prevent Diabetes
- Stay Healthy At Work
- It's Possible To Age Gracefully
In addition to a strong back, you also need a strong heart and lungs to pump put fresh blood to keep your organs moving.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes per day of moderately intense aerobic exercise 5 days per week.
Including weight lifting along with proper supplementation is a critical component to the development of bone loss and/or osteoporosis, which can weaken the spine.
In addition to aerobic and weight lifting, putting an emphasis on core strength during exercise will help improve posture and take some of the load off of your spine.
Maintain Healthy Body Weight
The focus shouldn't all be on weight loss, and you should also focus on maintaining a reasonable weight.
Starting diets, losing weight, and then stopping the diet and putting the weight back on is also harmful to your body.
You should emphasize lifestyle changes to keep weight off instead of jumping from diet to diet causing your weight to fluctuate.
To get a rough idea of what your ideal body weight, you can use the following formula:
110 pounds for men, or 99 pounds for women, plus 5 pounds for every inch of height over five feet.
Staying within 10% of that number will keep you in good shape.
As always, this is just an estimate, and you should always consult your doctor about your ideal weight.
And remember, it's not just exercise that keeps your weight under control; diet also plays a huge role.
Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet are great ways to protect your spine as time goes by.
Say No To Tobacco
It's common knowledge that smoking is bad for your heart and lungs.
Fewer people know that smoking can actually speed up the development of osteoporosis and make your bones more brittle.
Tobacco smoke is also associated with loss of the normal water in the spine's discs that can lead to the development of degenerative spinal disc disease and loss of the natural shock-absorbing properties.
This will, in turn, lead to early spinal arthritis and loss of mobility.
Smoking is terrible for your back, and pretty much everything else. Try to avoid it at all costs.
Diabetes is a byproduct of our nation's obesity problem, with more than 100 million Americans either diabetic or prediabetic.
If the problems that diabetes causes in the heart, nerves, brain, and eyes don't scare you enough, poor control of blood sugar or glucose has been associated with spinal arthritis and back pain.
The loss of mobility seen in a patient with a painful spine can set up a vicious cycle of reduced activity and increasing weight gain, which will send blood sugar soaring.
If your doctor has warned you about your glucose, do all you can to get it under control to protect your spine.
Stay Healthy At Work
Unfortunately, the majority of Americans don't like their job.
But, just because they don't enjoy it, doesn't mean it has to be harmful.
Most of us think of the heavy labor jobs as the occupations that do the most damage to the spine.
However, sedentary jobs where you're slumped in front of a computer screen for hours on end puts a great deal on your back and neck.
If you work in a job similar to this, try the following things to keep your spine healthy.
- Sit upright in your chair with your shoulders back.
- Get up and move every 30 minutes.
- Optimize the ergonomics of your workstation.
- Keep your computer monitor at eye level.
- Try to use a chair with lumbar support, or put a pillow on the small of your back.
- Set your chair at a height that allows your feet to easily reach the floor.
It's Possible To Age Gracefully
People say age is just a number, but it is actually more than that.
It's a state of mind. You are only as old as you feel.
Someone that takes care of themselves at 65 can feel younger than someone who abuses their body at 25.
The tips above are a great start to maintaining your health, but there is no guarantee to avoiding a bad back.
Following these simples steps and using common sense will help you minimize the risk of developing spinal troubles, and keep you feel young as you get older.
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