How to Prevent Shrinking With Age
It’s a common experience to notice a slight decrease in your height as you get older. Does this mean you’re shrinking? You may be, but likely not for the reasons you think you are. Shrinking with age isn’t a reversal of the growth process, but is often caused by spinal compression.
In a previous article, we covered whether or not you shrink as you get older and why. Today, we’re discussing how to prevent shrinking with age with different exercises, equipment, health routines, and self-care techniques. Shrinking with age doesn’t have to be a reality. Taking care of your body now and as you get older could prevent it from happening and keep you in optimal health.
Are You Really Shrinking With Age?
In case you missed our exploration of the question, “Do you shrink as you get older?” the answer is that many people do. This isn’t a regression on the height chart based on age as much as it has to do with the combined effects of gravity, age related diseases like osteoporosis or arthritis, and other conditions. It doesn't affect everyone uniformly and while a significant portion of the population does experience some degree of height loss as they age, there may be ways to prevent or reverse it.
Too often we look at shrinking with age as an inevitability when really it’s not. Learning how to prevent shrinking with age can be as simple as making a few lifestyle adjustments. As always, however, consult your doctor before beginning any new health routine to ensure it’s safe for you to do so.
Methods for How to Prevent Shrinking With Age
As we age, it's not uncommon to experience height loss due to a variety of factors, including changes in the spine, bones, and muscles. However, with the right approach, you can slow down this process and maintain your stature.
Let's explore some effective strategies for how to prevent shrinking with age:
- Practicing spinal decompression techniques
- Doing exercises to prevent shrinking with age
- Keeping healthy joints
- Choosing a healthy diet
- Having regular check-ups with your doctor
1. Practicing Spinal Decompression Techniques
Spinal decompression is a technique aimed at relieving pressure on the spine, reducing the risk of height loss associated with spinal compression.
Spinal decompression is a therapeutic technique aimed at relieving pressure on the spine. It works by creating space between the vertebrae and discs, reducing spinal compression to facilitate better alignment. This process can help alleviate back pain, improve posture, and assist with how to prevent shrinking with age.
Different methods and equipment to achieve spinal decompression as part of your strategy to prevent shrinking with age include:
- Inversion therapy: Inversion tables and inversion chairs allow you to hang upside down or at an inverted angle. This technique uses gravity to elongate the spine and create space between the vertebrae, relieving pressure.
- Yoga and stretching: Certain yoga poses and stretching exercises, like the Cat-Cow Stretch, can promote spinal decompression. Yoga encourages flexibility, corrects posture, and gently stretches the spine, helping to relieve tension and maintain proper alignment.
- Zero gravity chairs: Zero gravity chairs distribute your body weight evenly, reducing excess pressure on the lower spine and joints. These ergonomic chairs can help with spinal decompression at home as you relax in a neutral body position.
- Physical therapy: A physical therapist can provide specialized exercises and techniques to address spinal compression.
- Chiropractic care: Chiropractors use manual adjustments and spinal manipulations to alleviate spinal compression, improve alignment, and reduce pressure on the nerves. Some people also turn to the chiropractic benefits of zero gravity chairs to complement this form of therapy.
- Massage therapy: Deep tissue massages and myofascial release techniques can relax tight muscles and alleviate tension in the back, contributing to spinal decompression.
Always consult your doctor before starting any spinal decompression methods. They can help you choose the most appropriate and safe approach to aid in how to prevent shrinking with age and maintain a healthy spine.
2. Doing Exercises to Prevent Shrinking With Age
Maintaining proper posture and engaging in certain exercises is vital in your efforts toward how to prevent shrinking with age. Incorporating specific exercises into your daily routine can help strengthen your core, improve spinal alignment, and keep your muscles and bones in optimal condition.
The cat-cow stretch is a yoga pose that helps increase spinal flexibility and promotes proper alignment. Follow these steps to do it correctly:
- Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Your wrists should be aligned with your shoulders, and your knees with your hips.
- Inhale as you arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling. This is the Cow position.
- Exhale as you round your spine, tucking your chin and tailbone under. This is the Cat position.
- Continue to flow between Cat and Cow for 1-2 minutes, breathing deeply and slowly as you shift each time.
Do the cat-cow stretch to improve flexibility and maintain proper posture as part of your routine to avoid shrinking with age from spinal compression.
Wall angels are a simple exercise for improving shoulder mobility and posture. A few easy steps may help with how to prevent shrinking with age and maintaining a healthy spine:
- Stand with your back against a wall and your feet about 6 inches away from it.
- Place your arms against the wall bent at a 90-degree angle so that your upper arms are parallel to the ground and your palms are facing forward.
- Slowly slide your arms upward along the wall while you keep your elbows and wrists in contact with the wall. Try to reach as high as you can without lifting your heels or arching your back.
- Hold your position at the highest point for a few seconds to stretch your chest and shoulders.
- Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position, keeping your body in contact with the wall at all times.
- Repeat this movement 10-15 times.
Doing wall angels regularly could improve shoulder mobility and upper back posture.
Leg Stretching Exercise
Leg stretching exercises help maintain flexibility in the lower back and legs, reducing the risk of shrinking with age because of muscle tightness. The steps for this exercise are:
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you. Keep your back straight and your feet flexed, pointing toward the ceiling.
- Place your hands on the floor beside your hips, fingers pointing toward your feet.
- Inhale as you sit up tall, lengthening your spine.
- Exhale as you gently bend at your waist, reaching forward toward your toes. Keep your back straight and avoid rounding your spine.
- Reach as far as you can while maintaining a flat back. You should feel a gentle stretch in your hamstrings and lower back, but not discomfort.
- Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds, breathing deeply and trying to relax into your stretch.
- Slowly sit back up, breathing in as you do.
- Repeat the stretch 2-3 times, gently trying to reach a little further each time.
This leg stretching exercise helps keep your lower back and leg muscles flexible and strong, an important aspect for how to prevent shrinking with age.
3. Keeping Joints Healthy
Knowing how to keep joints healthy is a crucial component of how to prevent shrinking with age, as well. Healthy joints support proper posture and alignment, reducing the risk of spinal compression.
To achieve this, it's important to maintain a healthy weight, as excess pounds can add pressure to joints, particularly in the spine, hips, and knees. You can also participate in low impact exercises like swimming and walking to keep joints mobile and reduce stiffness. Staying well-hydrated and protecting your joints during daily activities further contribute to maintaining healthy joints, which can then result in helping prevent shrinking with age.
Along with exercise and healthy lifestyle choices, many people turn to zero gravity chairs for healthy joints. Using them as part of your daily routine for recovery and relaxation can enhance your overall joint health and aid in how to prevent shrinking with age.
4. Choosing a Healthy Diet
Selecting a healthy diet plays a pivotal role in how to prevent shrinking with age, too. Essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K, and magnesium help maintain bone density and overall physical health while drinking enough water rehydrates your spinal discs. Proper protein intake also aids in muscle maintenance and overall bodily health.
Additionally, maintaining a well-balanced diet can help manage body weight, reducing excess strain on your spine and joints. By making healthy dietary choices, you not only promote strong bones and good posture but also contribute to your overall well-being as you age. This can ultimately lead towards preventing shrinking with age from spinal compression or age-related diseases like osteoporosis. Consult a nutritionist or doctor for professional advice on what a healthy diet looks like for you.
5. Having Regular Check-Ups With Your Doctor
Regular checkups with your doctor to monitor your bone health, spinal condition, and overall physical well-being become even more important as you get older. Bone density scans and other assessments may identify possible issues early on and provide insight into specific ways to treat or prevent them. This includes recognizing how to prevent shrinking with age caused by various underlying health conditions.
Practicing methods for how to prevent shrinking with age follows a holistic health approach that may include things like lifestyle changes, exercises, choosing a zero gravity chair, and dietary considerations. By proactively caring for your spine, joints, and overall health, you can minimize the effects of aging on your spine and stay in optimal condition for years to come. It's never too late to start implementing strategies to prevent shrinking and maintain your height as you age.