Meditation

8 Surprising Benefits Of Meditation

By now, the world has warmed to the idea of meditation. People no longer roll their eyes and mutter under their breath when they hear that so-and-so has started up guided meditation. The facts leave no doubt: meditation really works.

And in today’s world of fast-paced corporate life, social jet-setting and tech gadget infatuations, we can no longer deny that meditation has a certain charm. Our lives are becoming increasingly stressful, to the point where our adrenals are exhausted. Our bodies are beset with anxiety and fatigue. Meditation provides calm in the eye of the storm, and everyone can benefit from a little of that every now and then.

Meditation’s most obvious benefit is stress relief. Guided meditation forces the mind to release its hold on nagging everyday worries and focus on a single point. That point allows the mind to finally relax. It releases all that tension and constant planning to focus on the now.

Meditation’s effect on the body is almost instantaneous. With the brain no longer sending fight or flight signals to your adrenal glands, they discontinue producing adrenaline and cortisol. Finally, after constant hours slaving away over a hot stove, producing the hormones they think the body needs to stay alive, they can take a much-needed nap.

As the adrenaline gradually exits from your veins, you find yourself almost miraculously free of stress, feeling calmer, more relaxed and more focused. Your body is no longer in stress-response mode. You finally feel like yourself again.

The scientific community agrees. A study from Texas Tech University quantitatively demonstrated that mindfulness meditation significantly lowered anxiety in test subjects. Another meta-analysis examined a range of different mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques and found much the same thing. The study concluded that “these results suggest that MBSR may help a broad range of individuals to cope with their clinical and nonclinical problems.”

Sounds pretty good, right? Happily, it doesn’t stop there. Meditation can provide an impressive array of benefits, both to your mind and your body. Many of these benefits may even come as a surprise, or at least have you muttering “huh!” and raising your eyebrows. Here are 11 such benefits, and what they mean for your health and wellness.

Meditation helps you lose weight

Meditation Reduces Overeating

Let’s kick things off with a bit of a strange one. It turns out that sitting around breathing deeply and looking inward may not just be a workout for the mind. When we’re stressed, our adrenals produce an excess of cortisol. Chronically high cortisol levels contribute to accumulation of fat around the stomach and other areas over time. Meditation helps to lower cortisol levels, thereby decreasing your risk of putting on hormone-related belly fat.

Not only that, studies show that mindfulness meditation can reduce your risk of binge eating. People who are stressed often have a strong tendency to overeat or turn to “emotional eating” as a way of cheering themselves up. If you’re in the process of dieting and trying to address this issue, meditation may be the answer.

It helps you sleep better

Daily meditation can help you sleep better. A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback examined the effects of Kriya yoga (a form of meditative exercise) on people suffering from chronic insomnia. The study found that total sleep time, sleep efficiency, sleep quality and depression all improved in patients who used meditation. And with better sleep, comes better health, faster weight loss and improved brain function. 

It helps you build better relationships

The human mind has a tendency to dwell on past events or frantically plan for the future. With your mind always elsewhere, you may find yourself growing further and further away from those you love. It can be frustrating and difficult trying to part with your ever-present regrets and worries for just a moment so that you can pay attention to your family and friends.

Daily guided meditation can help you to live in the present moment. It can als help you focus more on the people and places around you. You’ll find a greater connection with those you love. You’ll also develop more wholesome relationships with the people in your life.

It increases productivity

Meditation Improves Productivity

Meditation can help you work better and get more productivity out of your day. A study which examined the relationship between “Transcendental Meditation®” and productivity at work found that meditation made a huge difference. Study participants who used meditation reported increased job satisfaction, better performance and better relationships with supervisors and co-workers.

So next time you’ve got a tight deadline and are struggling to find the motivation, consider popping down to the park for 10 minutes for some guided meditation!

It rebuilds you brain

If you’re naturally skeptical about the quantitative benefits of meditation on the mind and body, this one’s for you. Researchers at Harvard Medical School examined the impact of meditation on the brain. They used MRI scans over the course of eight weeks. The results showed that while the control group experienced no changes in brain activity, the group subjected to regular meditation had a dramatic increase in their brain’s gray matter.

Gray matter is a major component of the central nervous system. It is found in areas of the brain which control muscle function, sight, hearing, memory, emotion and speech. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal! Not only that, the study found that “brain analyses identified increases in the posterior cingulate cortex, the temporoparietal junction, and the cerebellum in the MBSR group compared with the controls.” In plain English, meditation literally makes your brain bigger.

It can make you a morning person

If you’re like me and positively loathe getting up early in the morning, it may be a good idea to take up meditation. Meditating for just a few minutes when you first wake up can help clear your mind and get you energized for the day ahead. It can help you to focus your mind on the tasks ahead, relax any anxieties you might have about the day, and shake off that sleepiness which never seems to go away.

It relieves anxiety and depression

Meditation Relieves Depression

Researchers have documented the positive effects of meditation on depression and anxiety many times. Experts think that this positive effect on mood comes from meditation’s ability of help people think of more creative solutions to problems, rather than feeling stuck or helpless. For example, a 2012 study demonstrated that those who practice Buddhist meditation have far greater mental flexibility than those who don’t. This enables them to maintain a more positive outlook on life and more effective at solving problems.

It can improve your sex life

Perhaps the most surprising benefit of all is that meditation can dramatically improve your sex life! Firstly, meditation alleviates stress, which as we know lowers cortisol. Because elevated cortisol is associated with lowered libido and propensity for orgasm, the more you meditate, the more you’ll enjoy sex!

Next, meditation gives you more energy. And that energy doesn’t just have to be used up going for a run or working more productively; it can also be applied between the sheets! Finally, it improves your focus and ability to live in the present moment. This is absolutely essential for relating to your partner and really getting into your next bout of intercourse.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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Heart Failure, ways to slow it down.

Heart failure meds have serious side effects

People of all ages can be affected with congestive heart failure, with around one-third of patients under the age of 60. The illness causes more hospitalizations than all the forms of cancer combined. People diagnosed with it are often encouraged to take boatloads of medications, with some pretty intense side effects.

Doctors prescribe medicine that aims to improve how well your heart pumps, and other medicine to dilate blood vessels. Beta-blockers lower the heart rate, while ACE inhibitors reduce the amount of hormones in your body that can damage the heart. These medications, while often quite necessary, tend to cause dizziness, tiredness, changes in kidney function, swelling, nausea and appetite and digestive problems.

Users of beta blockers, like Metoprolol, have claimed to have experienced huge weight gain, sleep disturbances, depression, extreme dizziness, chest pressure and burning arms. Other patients described getting abdominal cramps, tinnitus and acid reflux. So, to the extent that it’s possible, it’s always good to seek out natural remedies and lifestyle changes to either replace or complement these medicines. Here are some useful natural ways to slow down heart failure:

1. Make dietary changes

It may seem a little counter-intuitive, but CHF patients are better off increasing their consumption of monounsaturated oils like extra virgin olive oil, as well as foods high in essential fatty acids. Patients should eat more fruits, vegetables and fiber — especially garlic, onions and celery, as they have been proven to lower blood pressure. Salmon, chia seeds and walnuts are also great for a healthy heart.

It’s important to limit processed salt consumption to 2,000 milligrams (i.e., one teaspoon) per day — and that includes those hidden sources of salt and sodium like sauces, soups number and pre-prepared food. If you’re going to use salt, make sure it’s pink Himalayan salt or sea salt. Soy sauce is definitely a high-sodium food to avoid, and cheeses are also typically high in sodium as well. The reason why you need to avoid processed salt is that sodium sponges up water in the body, making your heart work harder.

Some great alternative seasonings to salt include cumin, paprika, pepper, oregano, garlic, onion powder and sage. Spicy foods are a great strategy to curbing salt cravings, and if you do need to add a bit of salt to your food, know that your body handles unrefined salts better.

When a lot of food that is available is processed or fast food, it might initially feel daunting to have to limit salt intake. However, try to see it as an opportunity to be creative and to discover some incredible and rich herb combinations. For chicken or fish, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and anise will do wonders. For Italian dishes, add a blend of dried basil, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, red pepper, garlic powder or natural garlic, and dried oregano.

2. Consume hawthorn

The hawthorn herb, also known as thornapple, May-tree, whitethorn or hawberry, is the heart herb. Clinical studies have found that the herb extract has a positive effect on the treatment of left ventricular dysfunction and combats the symptoms associated with mild and moderate CHF. Hawthorn has been found to help with heart pumping efficiency and ACE inhibition. The hawthorn berry is recognized by the German government as a heart medicine — it apparently helps the heart to metabolize energy and use oxygen, and the flavonoids in the berry increase the heart muscle’s force on contraction.

One of the best ways to consume hawthorn is through tinctures: and you can make your own. Steep berries in vodka or brandy for a few weeks, then filter. You can also use apple cider instead — though that will make the tincture less potent. After around three weeks, strain the berries out, and use a dropper bottle to put around 15 drops under your tongue, per day.

3. Magnesium and vitamin supplements

While a decrease in magnesium intake can be fatal to sufferers of CHF, magnesium supplements have been shown, in some cases, to be effective in combating tachydysrhythmias (fast, irregular heartbeats). Other natural supplements that may benefit CHF patients include vitamin C (helps with cell metabolism), vitamin E (anti-oxidative), all the B vitamins (for heart function), creatine (for cardiac function), fish oil and potassium (if the CHF is caused by low potassium levels).

4. Use Coenzyme Q10

Also known as CoQ10, this supplement is a coenzyme that naturally occurs in animals and in all cells of the human body. Many certified cardiologists prescribe CoQ10 to treat CHF, while doctors who resist natural treatments are often reluctant to. Doctor Stephen Sinatra, however, argues that COQ10 “is the greatest addition to the treatment of congestive heart failure in this century.” A heart typically has ten times more CoQ10 than other organs, but it is deficient in heart failure patients, meaning the heart isn’t strong enough to pump blood. Sinatra recommends 180 to 360 milligrams of this supplement daily.

5. Make lifestyle changes

It’s well known that people suffering from heart failure and other related ailments like coronary heart disease need to make drastic changes in their daily routine. You need to maintain a healthy weight that reduces strain on the heart, avoid excessive alcohol consumption and restrict salt intake. Regular exercise has been shown to decrease symptoms and prolong life.

The three key exercise types that can benefit people with heart failure are flexibility, aerobic and strength training. For flexibility, some basic stretching, tai chi and yoga can be great. Aerobic exercise is important for improving the way your body uses oxygen, and useful exercises to try include fast walking, jogging, bike riding, rowing and water aerobics. Lastly, strength training involves lifting weights or using resistance bands. The benefits include weight control and balance.

Be sure to wait 90 minutes after eating to do aerobic exercise, and increase your amounts of exercise gradually. The key to reaping heart health benefits is regularity. Thirty minutes of walking, five days a week, for example, is a brilliant and simple program.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Mental Health Info

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is the range of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that impact one’s wellbeing. Just like physical health, mental health is important for daily functioning. Difficulties with mental health can impact a variety of factors in one’s life, from relationships, to education, employment, recreation, motivation, and personal enjoyment.

There is no definition of optimal mental health. The range of what is most healthy for a single individual can vary based on circumstances, culture, family upbringing, personality, and preference. There are, however, definitions of mental health conditions that cause an individual significant stress or impairment in daily functioning. These mental health disorders are classified according to symptoms. A diagnosable mental health condition/disorder requires meeting criteria as observed by a licensed professional.

Prevalence of mental health conditions

Mental disorders occur across the world. They are not unique to any nation, group, or culture, though some populations have higher prevalence and incidence rates of specific disorders than others. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, for 2015 in the Unites States, approximately 43.4 million adults age 18 or older had any mental illness, 9.8 million adults had a serious mental illness, and 13% of children (age 8-15 years) had a diagnosable mental disorder.

Cause of mental health conditions

What causes mental health disorders is a difficult question. For many mental health conditions, genetic and biological factors interact with life circumstances to trigger onset. The range of life circumstances that can lead to mental health difficulties includes negative life events, exposure to violence, sexual and physical abuse, trauma, low stress tolerance, financial hardship, belonging to a minority or discriminated against group, displacement, and living with a physical disease or chronic illness. Not all individuals who undergo such circumstances develop mental health conditions, however a percentage of vulnerable individuals will.

Common mental health conditions

Some of the more common categories and diagnoses of mental health conditions are:

Major Depressive Disorder:

Characterized by persistent low moods and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. Often accompanied by sleep disturbance.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

Episodes of frequent, intense, and overwhelming anxiety.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

A chronic condition where people perform repetitive behaviors (compulsions) in response to continuous and uncontrollable thoughts or urges (obsessions).

Eating Disorders:

Includes anorexia nervosa (an obsessive desire to lose weight by food avoidance and/or compulsive exercise), bulimia nervosa (periods of excessive eating followed by efforts to avoid weight gain) and binge-eating disorder (frequent episode of loss of control over eating, generally resulting in high weight gain).

Schizophrenia Spectrum and Psychotic disorders:

A group of chronic conditions characterized by an impaired ability to discern reality. Audible and visual hallucinations are a hallmark characteristic. Abnormal movement and fragmented speech are also common.

Bipolar Disorder:

Separated into type 1 and 2, bipolar disorder involves a fluctuation between extremes of elevated and depressed moods.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:

A syndrome caused by singular, ongoing, or early trauma or witnessing violence that causes significant impairment, recurrent thoughts of the trauma, and difficulty coping and performing daily tasks.

Insomnia and hypersomnia:

Characterized by disturbances in sleep and waking cycles, either in difficulty falling or remaining asleep, or in sleeping too much.

Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders:

A dependence or addiction to specific substances, as well as behavior like gambling.

Personality Disorders:

A group of diagnoses characterized by inflexible and lasting personality styles. The personality causes impairment in significant areas of functioning.

In addition to those listed, there are also dissociative, somatic symptom, elimination, sexual dysfunction, gender dysphoria, impulse and conduct control, paraphilic, neurodevelopmental and neurocognitive disorders. The categories and specific diagnoses of mental disorders help a practitioner assess and formulate the best treatment approach.

Relationship between physical health and mental health

For those living with a physical health condition, the risk of having difficulties with mental health is heightened. For example, rates of major depressive disorder are significantly higher in individuals suffering from poor health and physical disease than in the general population. The reasons for this can be many: increased difficulty managing the tasks of daily life, increased financial strain, chronic pain, feeling isolated, the loss of ability and/or employment, being stigmatized, low levels of understanding and empathy from others, and the difficulty of medical management. Likewise, the onset of a physical disease can be frightening, distressing, and anxiety provoking. Plans for the future may be altered due to disease, as can relationships to others. Medication for treating illness can also affect thoughts and mood (steroids for controlling inflammation for example), as can the physiological process of some diseases (hypothyroidism for example). If you have a physical health condition, you live with an array of stresses, hardships, and potential variables like medication and the illness itself that can leave you vulnerable to the onset of a mental health condition.

Treatment for mental health

Just as there are treatments for many physical diseases, there are interventions for mental health conditions. Mental Health intervention can include medication, psychotherapy, learning positive coping skills, behavioral change plans, social programs, support groups, or residency in facilities for daily monitoring and increased care. Any of these can be applied in combination.

There is an array of qualified professionals who can begin assessment of a mental health condition and formulate an approach for treatment: medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors (doctoral and masters degree level), and clinical social workers. Every individual responds differently to treatment, and no one intervention works identically for every person. Someone with generalized anxiety disorder for example, may respond well to anti-anxiety medication (anxiolytics), whereas someone else with the same diagnosis may not. Many mental health conditions are treatable and patients show improvement over time. A small percentage of individuals who seek professional help do not respond to intervention. Though there are no “cures” for mental health conditions, there is help.

 

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Foods That Cause Inflammation

If there’s one thing that you want to avoid, inflammation is it.

Chronic inflammation can set you up for many problems including heart disease, diabetes, as well as arthritis.

Leading a stressful and unhealthy lifestyle are 2 key components for inflammation but what you eat on a day to day basis will impact it too.

Let’s take a look at four foods that are linked to inflammation so that you’ll know what to avoid.

1. Gluten 

Topping the list is gluten. Gluten is a certain type of protein found in wheat based foods that many people’s bodies struggle to digest properly.

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When you eat gluten, you’re going to be at risk for unwanted symptoms such as

  • gas
  • bloating
  • indigestion
  • foggy brain (fuzzy thinking)
  • headaches
  • a general sense of fatigue.

And these are just the immediate symptoms that can come about!

When you eat gluten on a regular basis, inflammation can persist in the body, setting you up for long-term disease.

Removing gluten and all gluten containing foods from your menu is one of the best steps you can take to ensure optimal health.

2. Dairy 

Dairy is another food group that’s often linked to states of inflammation. Humans were not naturally designed to consume cow’s milk, but yet, many of us are drinking it daily.

If you lack the digestive enzymes (lactase) to break down the sugars in milk, this too can lead to gas, bloating and stomach discomfort.

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Not to mention too much high fat dairy consumption can put your body at risk for inflammation and weight gain.

While many people think you need dairy to get your calcium needs met, there are plenty of other ways that you can get calcium into your daily diet plan.

3. Trans Fats 

Trans fats are one of the worst offenders in today’s diets and a type of fat that you want to be sure that you steer clear of.

Trans fat consumption is strongly linked to inflammation as well as diseases like cancer and heart disease.

You’ll find trans in processed, fast, and frozen foods such as donuts, pizza, burgers, French fries, as well as frozen dinner meals.

Stay away from these at all costs – your body has absolutely no need for trans fats in the diet.

4. Sugar

Last but not least, sugar is the final offender that can set you up for full body inflammation. Our sugar consumption as a nation over the last few years has skyrocketed as more and more foods contain the white stuff.

Sugar contains no nutrients and will set you up for a series of problems including a blood sugar spike, insulin release, fat storage, and a blood glucose crash.

Over time, this wears on your body and can set you up to experience high levels of inflammation.

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Hunched back, what causes it?/Health share

An active healthy senior man with a hunch back (poor posture) playing tennis.: In recent decades, kyphosis has become a significant health problem for older men and women alike.

Kyphosis, a painful condition commonly known as “hunchback” is a physical deformation of the middle and upper spine, in which its natural curve increases, resulting in a “hunched over” posture.
While the postural issue used to be a problem largely reserved for older women, in recent decades, kyphosis has become a significant health problem for older men and women alike, says Dr. Alpesh Patel, director of orthopedic spine surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
“Twenty years ago, when I was in medical school, no one ever thought about it,” he says. Kyphosis now affects between 20 and 40 percent of adults, with both prevalence and severity increasing through the decades, according to a 2015 study published in the scientific journal Neurosurgery. The effects of kyphosis range from decreased mobility to pain and disability to impaired lung function and even increased mortality, according to the study’s findings.
So why is kyphosis becoming increasingly common? In a word: weakness.
“Osteoporosis is the leading cause of age-related kyphosis, with sarcopenia, or age-related muscle loss, being a secondary cause,” Patel explains. Much of the osteoporosis prevalence in women is related to menopausal hormone changes.

However, as the average American’s life has become more sedentary and desk jobs have replaced physically laborious ones, the rates of osteoporosis have grown in women and men. Patel notes that the body’s peak bone mass occurs in the 30s and early 40s, and then naturally declines thereafter.
As the spine – and the muscles that support it – become weaker, the vertebrae become susceptible to compression fractures, in which the bone breaks under the load of everyday activities like walking or even coughing, he says. An estimated 1.5 million vertebral compression fractures, or VCFs, occur every year in the United States, affecting about 25 percent of postmenopausal women, according to 2012 research published in The Permanente Journal. These compression fractures are about half as common in men as they are in women; when they occur, the bone typically slides down the spine and, over time, can form the thoracic spine into a C-shape.
“The best way to avoid compression fractures and kyphosis is to prevent or slow the development of osteoporosis,” says Dr. Andrew Sama, a spine surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
Below, spinal experts share their strategies to help keep the body’s bones – especially those along the spine – strong.
Measure your bone density. To best address your vertebral bone health, you need to know its status. Two common tests to measure bone density are dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, also called DEXA, and quantitative CT, or QCT, Sama says.
Both tests are noninvasive and scan the spine (and often the hips) to determine bone mineral density. DEXA is often contraindicated in anyone with arthritis, scoliosis, disc space narrowing, spinal degenerative diseases, obesity and other conditions, according to the department of radiology and biomedical imaging at the University of California–San Francisco.

Talk to your primary care doctor to determine which test is right for you.
Perform weight-bearing exercises. “Bones are alive and constantly turning over and remodeling themselves,” Patel says. One trigger for your bones to grow stronger is to regularly stress them.
The best forms of exercising to increase bone strength include weight-bearing exercises, specifically exercises that load the body axially, or with force being exerted through the spine, says Ryan Campbell, a training specialist at Anytime Fitness of Southern Wisconsin. Examples of axial loading exercises include dead lifts, barbell back and front squats and overhead dumbbell presses.

Prioritize using resistance levels that allow you to perform three sets of 10 reps of each exercise with proper form, he says, noting that lighter loads will have less effect on bone growth.
However, for those whose bone mineral density scans point to osteoporosis or osteopenia, it may be advised to trade exercises that put downward pressure on the spine for gentler ones. While stressing the spine stimulates vertebral bone growth, the amount of that stress must match the current strength of the spine, Patel says.

If your doctor has not given you specific recommendations on what exercises are contraindicated, according to your bone health, talk to a physical therapist or certified trainer before beginning an exercise routine, Campbell advises.
Review your current prescriptions. “Medications, including steroids, proton pump inhibitors to treat gastroesophageal reflux, and some antidepressive medications can increase risk of osteoporosis,” Sama says. Talk to your doctor about the impact any prescribed medications could have on your spinal health. In some cases, alternative medications may be available.
It’s worth noting that medications can also be used to help slow the progression of osteoporosis. Common options include bisphosphonates, teriparatide, abaloparatide and denosumab, Sama says.
Assess your calcium and vitamin D levels. Both nutrients are vital to bone health, but many people don’t get enough of calcium or vitamin D. While a basic metabolic panel, which is a standard part of annual physicals, includes calcium testing, it does not include vitamin D screening, according to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. You must request a vitamin D test – performed through a simple blood draw – to have your levels evaluated.
Once you know your calcium and vitamin D levels, you and your doctor can discuss any nutrition or lifestyle changes, as well as supplementation and dosage if necessary, Sama says.
Pay attention to protein. While most people think about protein in terms of strengthening the muscles, increased muscle health can indirectly improve bone strength. According to a 2014 study published in Current Opinions of Clinical Metabolic Care, protein may also promote strong bones by increasing calcium absorption and affecting hormone levels.
However, recent research shows that older Americans aren’t getting enough of this important nutrient to effectively maintain muscle health. One study, presented at the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 2018 Nutrition Science & Practice Conference, shows that roughly 40 percent of older adults don’t meet current the daily protein recommendation of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of a person’s body mass per day. That equals about 0.36 grams of daily protein per pound of body weight. However, mounting research advises older adults to eat about double the current recommended amount.
Strengthen the core and the back. It’s important to strengthen the core muscles’ ability to stabilize and protect the spine and the back muscles’ capability to pull the shoulders and spine into upright posture, Patel says. Rowing exercises, including resistance-band rows and lat pull-downs, can help strengthen the muscles of the middle and upper back. Supine Y raises (in which you lie on the floor and raise your outstretched arms from the floor to form a Y with your body) and resistance-band pull-apart, where you hold two ends of a resistance band with your arms in front of your shoulders and pinch your shoulder blades together, focus on the muscles of the upper back.

Meanwhile, dead-bugs and bird-dogs train the deep-lying muscles of the core to stabilize the spine. Pallof presses, in which you stand perpendicular to a resistance band or cable’s fixed point and hold the handle in front of your abdomen and press forward, further improve the ability of the core muscles to act as a sort of protective spine scaffolding, Sama says.
Avoid spinal flexion. If you’re diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, it’s smart to lessen or avoid activities that include spinal flexion or bending and can increase pressure on the vertebra and spinal discs, Sama says. These activities include both exercises such as crunches, toe touches and trunk twists, as well as acts of daily living such as slouching in front of a computer, he says.
Focus on maintaining a long, neutral spine, with only a slight curve in both your lower and upper back, throughout the day, Patel recommends.
Avoid smoking. Smoking is a known risk factor for osteoporosis, interfering with how the body uses vitamin D and calcium to strengthen bones, according to the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. A 2001 meta-analysis published in Calcified Tissue International found that smoking increased the risk of lumbar, or lower, spine fractures by 13 percent in women and 32 percent in men.
Cutting back on or eliminating tobacco usage at any age can have positive effects on your future spinal health, Patel says.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report


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