One of the many things your spine does is allow you to be flexible enough to participate in various athletic activities. Flexibility is equally essential for cooking, household chores, gardening, and other daily tasks. Over time, your backbone and its supporting parts can be affected by age-related changes and other factors that may hinder movement. Minimize this risk by keeping the following tips for boosting spinal flexibility in mind.
A great way to keep your spine flexible is with regular exercise. In addition to strengthening spine-supporting muscles and other soft tissues, walking, swimming, low-impact workouts, and other forms of exercise also direct more beneficial nutrients to your spine and its parts in a way that plays a role in boosting flexibility.
While it’s important to keep spinal muscles strong to maintain flexibility, it’s also a good idea to focus on your core muscles—located primarily within your trunk but also including adjacent areas. What a strong core does is provide indirect support to your spine. This boosts flexibility by absorbing some of the pressure put on your spine by your daily movements.
Yoga is a gentler form of exercise that also boosts spinal flexibility with a combination of stretching techniques and poses. It’s an option worth considering if you’re not a fan of traditional forms of exercise or gym-based workouts.
Yoga can also strengthen muscles that make your spine flexible and improve your posture at the same time. As long as we’re on the topic of posture, it’s something you’ll want to be mindful of, since poor posture habits can irritate spine-supporting parts enough to affect flexibility and even lead to long-term issues that could require spinal fusion surgery. Los Angeles residents should also be aware that issues related to posture can also irritate or pinch nerves near the spine and further reduce movement. Address posture problems by:
• Keeping your head above your shoulders
• Not hunching forward when using handheld devices or working in front of a computer
• Sitting with your back straight
• Doing self-checks of your posture throughout your day and making immediate adjustments
Water is essential to spinal flexibility because it maintains the flow of beneficial nutrients to the backbone and related parts. Spinal discs, in particular, can be affected by insufficient hydration enough to contribute to flexibility issues.
If your diet normally includes junk food, sugary treats, and processed foods, you’ll likely be affected by spinal inflammation. This type of tissue swelling has the potential to impede flexibility. But opting for fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and other healthier foods can ease inflammation and keep your weight within a healthy range. Excess pounds could also affect range of motion by placing added stress on your spine.
In addition to the tips discussed above, see your doctor on a regular basis if you’re noticing a reduction in spinal flexibility. If a structural issue is suspected, you may be referred to a Los Angeles spine surgeon to find out if this is the case. On a positive note, many issues with flexibility involving the spine can be corrected to some extent with lifestyle improvements.
If you need personal guidance on how to keep your spine flexible, make an appointment today with one of the pioneering physicians at The Spine Institute. Our spinal health experts lead the industry in every aspect of neck and back health. Reach out to one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757.