Motion is lotion: 10 tips for a healthy spine

When I was in my 20s, I worked a lot with chiropractors and osteopaths. During this period I learned just how vital it is to have a healthy spine.

The spine has many functions, one of the most important being it protects the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots. It’s also the channel of communication between your brain and the rest of your body. When our spine is working optimally and the lines of communication are free from interference, the body is healthy. However, when the vertebrae become misaligned due to a variety of stresses, or a nerve is experiencing an increase in pressure, we can suffer all kinds of symptoms.

For optimal spinal health, here are my 10 top tips:

1. Stay mobile
You must stay active to maintain a healthy spine. Make maintaining good core strength a priority.

2. Sit properly
The way you sit can make or break your spine. Especially because many of us sit for long stretches at a time in front of a computer, getting our seated posture right is very important. It’s also advisable to take a break from sitting every one hour or so. Stand up, stretch and walk around.

3. Maintain a healthy weight
It’s vital you keep a healthy weight for your frame. Excess weight puts stress on the spine and can lead to back pain. If you’re serious about making a change and are looking for a fantastic personal trainer, I recommend checking out Blake Worral Thompson at Wellbeingbyblake.com. Joanna McMillan is also making a really awesome impact with her www.getlean.com.au program. It’s an online portal for those wanting to make sustained and healthy changes to their diet.

4. Eat healthy
Proper nutrients allow the body to repair itself more easily. Our cells are our body’s building blocks and they need fuel to stay healthy. To those clients who want to learn more, I recommend two top practitioners: Tabitha McIntosh at www.awakenyourhealth.com.au and Lisa Guy at www.theartofhealing.com.au.

5. Sleep comfy
Invest in a good pillow and mattress. Remember – we spend half of our life sleeping! You can buy a memory foam neck pillow in the Advance With Health online store.

6. Maintain a good posture
These days there are just so many amazing yoga, pilates, dance and other movement-based classes on offer. Even those of us who find it hard to get to classes because we have kids or too many work commitments need not despair. You can now access some great online portal services and get in great shape without ever leaving home.

7. Hold your phone right
That is, don’t ever cradle it between your neck and shoulder. This adds pressure on your cervical vertebrae and encourages poor alignment.

8. Keep it light
Don’t overload your backpack, purse or wallet. Remember to keep the weight of your backpack evenly distributed across both shoulders. Children are advised to carry less than 10 percent of their body weight in a school backpack. This is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed in all schools. And guys, don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket when sitting otherwise you risk creating an imbalance in your pelvis. Ladies, if you have to cross your legs, cross them at the ankles.

9. Don’t sleep on your stomach.
Sleep on your back or side instead. If you were born in the age when bubs were placed on their tummies, you might be in the habit of sliding onto your stomach. Better not to if you don’t want to put pressure on your cervical vertebrae.

10. Educate yourself
Keep abreast of what’s happening in the fields of health and wellbeing. We all lead such busy and pressured lives, we need to consciously stop and consider what behaviours and habits might harm us in the long run. Remember what Rachael Hunter said: “It won’t happen over night but it will happen.”




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