I’ve often implored clients as we all get older to keep mobile.
So far as ageing goes it’s the one thing we need to maintain.
Keeping our muscles moving stimulates and hydrates the bones so helping to prevent osteoporosis (and there are optimal methods to do this too). As we age we are prone to shortening of the spine (which is, with the bones stacked vertically, prone to compression and dehydration anyway). We can shrink by as much as ½” every decade from as early as 30!(and women are particularly vulnerable).
Global movements will encourage our discs to absorb water. Yoga, and particularly Pilates will encourage movement and proper alignment of the spine, and keep this hydration going as well as working areas of the body which get lazy and lengthened. I’m also a massive fan of using weights and again this stimulates bone density and movement (as well as making LIFE easier because you are stronger!).
In working with clients I’ve noticed the thoracic (mid back) doesn’t move as it should and can start curving to form a stoop (and from an increasingly young age), so we get it moving again. I also do much work with FEET – dropped arches can also lose us height. So many of the problems I’ve mentioned above can be addressed and even reversed. Eating for bone health (google) will protect you but some simple postural measures can too. Get thee to a Pilates class to learn about working the deep abdominal muscles, stabilising the lower back, but also giving you a longer spine for an instantly taller effect (and often slimmer too!). Try standing with your back against a wall so that the back of your head, your shoulder blades and your buttocks touch the wall, and your heels are 2 to 4 inches away.
How does this feel? It may feel really uncomfortable and this may give you the impetus to seek some professional advise. While you’re there go up on to your tip toes. Keeping the chin tucked in and slightly down, slowly lower your heels but keep that sense of your head remaining high. This simple movement will encourage the vertebrae to ease apart. When working at a desk get the screen up and straighten spine. Most of all remain mindful of your posture all day long!