We have your Back! 5 Tips for Better Bone Health and Spine Alignment
As we age, our bodies undergo various changes, including the gradual loss of bone density and changes in spinal structure making spine and bone health increasingly important for older adults. Moreover, in today’s technology- driven world when many of us spend a significant amount of time on computers working, communicating with family, scheduling appointments and consuming media, it is no wonder that back pain and alignment issues are an increasingly common complaint. Here are five practical tips to help promote bone and spine wellness and achieve better alignment in our more sedentary society.
1. Stay active with low impact exercises.
Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining bone density and overall musculoskeletal health. Low impact exercises that are gentle on the joints and spine activities like walking, swimming, yoga and tai chi can help improve balance, flexibility, and strength without putting excessive stress on the bones. Exercises that strengthen the core are also very beneficial for spine alignment.
2. Consume a bone healthy diet.
Ensure that your diet includes adequate amounts of calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients. Dairy products, leafy green vegetables, fortified cereals and fatty fish are excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D. Consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist to determine the best dietary plan based on individual needs and dietary restrictions.
3. Bone screenings and Falls Prevention.
Osteoporosis is a common condition in the elderly and is characterized by low bone density and an increased susceptibility to fractures. It is important to undergo regular bone density screenings to assess bone strength and structure. Also, consider engaging a health professional such as an aging life care manager to conduct a health and environmental review to screen for falls risk factors so preventative steps to mitigate falls and traumatic fractures.
4. Optimize your computer area workstation.
Invest in an ergonomically friendly chair that supports spine and bone alignment. Look for a chair that offers adjustable features like seat, height, armrests and lumbar support. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are at a 90° angle position. Ensure that your computer monitor level is about an arms length away from you. An adjustable keyboard tray that supports a neutral wrist resting position can reduce strain on the joints.
5. Practice good sitting posture and take breaks.
For optimal alignment sit up straight with your shoulders, relaxed, and your back against the backrest of your chair. Keep your head balanced and avoid craning your neck forward regularly. Remind yourself to adjust your posture throughout the day as it’s easy to slouch forward without realizing it. Set a timer to take frequent breaks and stretches every 30 minutes or an hour when you anticipate sitting for prolonged periods. During breaks, engage in gentle stretching exercises to relieve tension in your muscles and improve blood circulation. Focus on stretching your neck, shoulders, back and legs.
Remember, small positive changes in your daily habits can have a profound effect on your long-term health and wellbeing!