10 Tips for a Healthy Spine!

10 Tips for a Healthy Spine!

Your spine is just like any other part of your body and needs daily attention to keep it in tip top condition. Most people don’t think about their spine until something goes wrong with it!

A little pro active prevention goes a VERY long way in keeping your spine healthy for daily life and also for the duration of your life!


What is great posture? Well posture relates to the smaller muscles in your body that keep you upright and help to stabilise your joints. They work all day without you having to think about it. These muscles are either working in a functional and productive way…or not.

Great posture is having just the right amount of activation of your postural muscles to keep you in a functional position…or posture. We get into a pickle when there is either weakness, tightness or both in these muscles, causing tension and stress on your spine and joints. Over time this can lead to daily pain or even an acute major spine injury.  


Tight, tense muscles don’t feel the best. They can create aches and pains in all areas of your body, especially your spine. Think of your spine as the central pole in a big tent, with your muscles being the smaller ropes on the outside of the tent. All the ropes (your muscles) play a role in keeping the tent (your spine) upright. If one of the tent ropes pulls tighter than the others it will cause tension and stress on that side of the tent (your spine) and could potentially snap (ouch)!


Joint mobility is different from being flexible. Your spine is made up of bones called vertebra which have joints that enable you to bend and twist. Like any other joint in the body, if they don’t get moved, they will get stiff…or rusty. So instead of moving your vertebra individually, you end up moving sections of your spine like a block and one of the main reasons people feel “stiff and tight” in their spines.


Core strength isn’t just abdominal strength. It involves all the muscles of the trunk and torso working in synergy and includes the hip and spine muscles. One of the main reasons we need core strength is to fight gravity. We are constantly being pushed to the ground by gravity and it has a major impact on your spine, compressing the vertebra.  


We all do this…sit. Unless you have great posture, flexibility, mobility and core strength, sitting puts a lot of stress and strain on your spine. And when you do it for extended periods of time at work or in the car, it can lead to a compressed and unhealthy spine. The spine loves to move and if we’re immobile for hours and hours, the joints never get an opportunity to move and can “lock up” and the muscles never get an opportunity to work and become weak.  


There are a couple of reasons this has an impact on the health of your spine. The first relates to compression and gravity. If you were to pick up a 10kg weight, your spine “should” act as a shock absorber and be able to stop the weight from compressing your body. If you’re carrying an extra 10kg in body weight, your spine is having to “absorb” the extra weight all day, every day and this can lead to aches and pains and potentially a more acute injury. The second relates specifically to belly fat. It’s pretty simple, if you have too much belly fat, it will impede your ability to contract your abdominal muscles inward to create core strength.


It’s funny how we only think of nutrition in terms of weight and healthy function of the body in relation to health. Your spine has nutritional needs, and just like the rest of your body if these needs are neglected…well, you will not have a healthy spine! Whether you have chronic ongoing back pain or an acute back injury, using food and nutrition as medicine for your spine will accelerate your results. 


The bones in your spine are called vertebra, and in between each vertebra is a vertebral disc. The discs are shock absorbers and stop the bones rubbing together. They are unable to do their job unless they are fully hydrated! When they are dehydrated, they “thin out” and this can lead to degeneration and back pain.  Once the discs are degenerated, they cannot return to a healthy state


Are you pro active or re active? Do you wait for something to go wrong in your spine before creating a set of daily healthy habits? A little every day is the secret to keeping your spine and indeed your entire body healthy and happy. Not only is it great for your body, but you’ll have a fantastic quality of daily life…for the duration of your life!


Pilates is the only corrective strength training method that specifically focuses on the health of the spine, preventing pain and pro-actively developing a lifetime of great movement capability. We know it does! We’ve helped hundreds of men and women not only get spine strong and long, but also educate them on what they need to do to ensure they have a healthy spine for the duration of their life!


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