How do you want to age?
We are all getting older but we don't have to get old. There are some societies where it is not uncommon to live into your 90's and 100's. Some examples are Okinawa, Japan, Sardinia, Italy and even Loma Linda, California. In these societies the people suffer relatively few age-related ailments. One common thread between these communities is that they all stay active and have a strong sense of purpose. Also, even though there diets differ, they stay at or below their ideal weight and don't eat processed food or sugar.
What will your last 10 years look like? Will you be able to run around with your grandchildren? Great grandchildren? Will you age with vitality or succumb to old age?
Posture is a good indicator of how well you will age.
What do you notice when you look at the activity level the elderly around you? The older people you see golfing and bowling. Walking in the park. Do you notice anything? How about the seniors that come into a restaurant with a walker or a cane? When you find out the age of a person and are surprised, why are you surprised? Is it just their skin and hair, or is there something else. Look at their posture. Good posture allows your nerves and body to be able to function the way it is supposed to. As we get older we tend to do less and sit more. Prolonged sitting is one of the worst things we can do to ourselves.
These prolonged periods of sitting not only increase our risk for obesity, it also impacts our posture which can lead to a range of health problems. Our sedentary modern lifestyle are fast becoming a serious threat to our health. Some say sitting is the new smoking when it comes to health. Add the tablet and cellphones that we stare down at every day and you have the potential for a serious health epidemic.
Poor posture over time changes the shape of your spine and affects your health.
20 years ago when I started treating and x-raying patients, I rarely saw kids with headaches and neck pain. These conditions were usually reserved for people much older or ones after some type of accident. The lightbulb came on after I started looking at x-rays of the neck and noticed these kids were starting to have postures and curves similar to older people that had been in accidents. This has really spiked in the past few years. I speculate the reason is twofold. First, kids are much more sedentary now. They spend much more time playing video games instead of running around at parks. Even kids in sports come home and sit at an x-box or playstation after practice. Secondly, they spend far more time on computers, tablets and cellphones than even a couple years ago. This constant sitting and looking down is changing their spinal curves and posture. What is going to happen when these kids reach thirty, forty and older?
This rounding of the spine, or hyperkyphotic posture, can impair mobility and balance as we age and increase the risk of falls and fractures. Those with a hyperkyphotic posture have a 44% greater risk of mortality than those without. These postural and spinal curve changes also lead to an increase in spinal degeneration or arthritis.
For many years Chiropractors have assisted by not only keeping people pain free, but also in helping develop a healthy lifestyle. I have also made it my goal to address these spinal curve and posture issues since the day I started practice. It is the reason I take x-rays and show them to my patients so they can see what is going on with their spine and posture and take the appropriate action. By adjusting the spine, I help create a better range of motion in the spine therefore allowing for a better change at improving posture and function.
Research shows that better posture equals greater independence and health as you age.
The key is not to wait! It is much easier to keep good posture than to try and regain it. Proper spinal motion is key to allowing your body to move freely and therefore allows you to keep better posture. While spinal adjustments are very important, maintaining healthy habits, exercise, diet and posture are also key in making sure we stay healthy as we age. Chiropractic is and should be a team effort. Identifying the problem and then working together is the best way to get and stay healthy.
So, how do you want to age?
Dr. Heller has been adjusting and helping patients recover their spinal curves for 20 years. Dr. Heller can be seen at his Costa Mesa office ((714) 557-9454) Monday from 11-3, Wednesday and Friday from 10-7. He also sees patients in Corona ((951) 279-8900) on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.