Your spine is going to have a significant impact on your daily quality of life regardless of whether you’re a kid, teenager, millennial, or senior. From supporting your body’s weight to successfully carrying out various tasks and movements, your spine has a lot of work to do every day, so it’s important to keep it—and the parts that support it—as healthy as possible throughout every stage of life. To help you achieve this goal, here are some handy spine care guidelines separated by age ranges.
Birth to Age 10: Play, Move, and Explore
Very early in life, children are probably not going to be consciously thinking about optimal spine health. Fortunately, a lot of things children naturally do at this age, such as playing, moving around, and exploring, actually help the spine develop and grow strong.
Adolescent and Teen Years (10–20): Get Active
During this period, parents often encourage their kids to get active with things such as school sports, bike riding, and other regular activities. This is also a perfect time to find enjoyable forms of exercise, whether it’s swimming, running track, or going to the park to play with friends. Teens should make an effort to avoid certain habits that could affect the spine later in life, such as:
• Using tech devices excessively
• Doing too many sedentary activities (e.g., hours of playing video games)
• Stressing the spine too much during physical activities, especially contact sports
Early Adult Years (20–30): Exercise Regularly
At this point in life, you’ll likely be moving away from organized sports and making your own life decisions about things such as your education and career, which means you’ll need to start making a conscious effort to get regular exercise as you get busy with other pursuits. Options include:
• Working out between classes
• Going for walks on your lunch hour or after work
• Jogging or running on weekends or your days off
• Using the stationary bike or elliptical machine at your local gym
Middle Adult Years (30–40): Watch Your Waistline
By the time you reach 30, your metabolism starts to change. You’re not going to be able to burn off excess calories as easily, which means you may find yourself putting on extra weight that places more stress on your spine. You don’t have to give up occasional indulgences. Just remember one word: moderation. Also, if you notice your waistline expanding during this period of your life, be proactive and adjust your diet and exercise habits.
Later Middle Adult Years (40–50): Keep the Focus on Exercise
When you get to this stage of life, your spine will be more susceptible to damage from age-related wear. It’s also during these years that you’ll be at risk for developing early-onset osteoarthritis and other underlying conditions that could affect your spinal joints, bones, and discs. Severe damage to these could result in the need for procedures such as spinal fusion surgery. Los Angeles middle-aged adults should be aware that these are the main reasons you’ll want to be especially mindful of your exercise habits when you’re within this age range.
Pre-Senior Years (50–60): See Your Doctor Regularly
Simply reaching “the big five-oh” doesn’t mean it’s all downhill from this point forward when it comes your spine’s health. However, this is the stage of life when it becomes even more important to visit your doctor regularly. You’ll also benefit from regular screenings when you get into this age range, especially if you have a family history of osteoporosis (bone thinning), arthritis, diabetes, or other underlying health issues that could affect your spine.
Later Life (60 and Beyond): Do Everything Already Mentioned
When you hit 60, you’ll want to pay attention to everything we’ve already discussed to keep your spine healthy for many more years. You may not be able to do the same type of activities you did when you were in your teens or early adult years at this point, but you can still do good things for your spine by:
• Finding ways to exercise that are less demanding but still effective at targeting your core spine-supporting muscles (e.g., yoga, water-based exercises)
• Making sure you’re still getting sufficient nutrients from your diet, especially calcium, vitamins C and D, healthy proteins and fats, and omega-3 fatty acids
• Taking to your Los Angeles spine surgeon as soon as you notice anything out of the ordinary
• Remaining active and involved as you continue to explore the world around you
Spine health is important at every age, and there are a lot of things you can do to keep your back strong enough to support you for a lifetime. If you have any questions or concerns about how you can maintain your optimal level of spine health, no matter what your age, the spinal health experts at The Spine Institute can help. Call one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.