It is true, no matter your age, that keeping your body flexible and strong has many health benefits. Proper movement is a must for good health. When your body moves outwardly, the cells of your connective tissue move too, improving flow of nutrients and energy. For this reason, sitting has (justifiably) been getting a bad rap lately. The more you sit, the less cellular activity takes place, the higher the negative impact on your overall health. Actually, any repetitive muscle behavior can have a negative health impact if it is not performed in the body’s proper alignment (think of “tennis elbow”).
One of the easiest things you can do for your spine is breathe properly. The simple muscular act of breathing, when done properly, can have profoundly positive effects on overall health. Did you know that proper breathing can actually strengthen the muscles of the torso and along your spine? Imagine if every breath was a bit of good exercise for your body! Now that’s multitasking.
Whether physical activity is difficult for you, or you are a professional body builder, you can still make time for your spinal health. Here is an activity that you can do wherever you are, whenever you want, and it can immediately make you feel good. Place your hands on the front of your lower rib cage, at your diaphragm, with your fingertips touching and your palms wrapped around the sides of the ribs. Relax your shoulders and elbows while you make your spine taller through the crown of your head. Take a slow but deep inhale without raising your shoulders. Expand the space between your fingers and palms by making your ribcage larger in diameter to hold the breath. Keep your shoulders down. Slowly exhale and close the ribcage so your hands get closer together but try to stay tall. Repeat.
This exercise actually encourages better lung capacity, a more supple spine, and better posture! And guess what, those things mean less pain and more energy for you, every day. Take a little more time for your spine and notice how good you feel!
Kelly Reed Daulton is a UCSD graduate, licensed GYROTONIC®instructor, and a resident of Templeton since 2000. She helps people of all ages and abilities align and strengthen their spines for physical recovery and overall fitness using a method called the GYROTONIC Expansion System®. She is available for private sessions and teaches classes throughout North County. www.kellyreeddaulton.com 434-3258