Although some bone loss is expected with age, you can prevent it from happening prematurely and strengthen your spine by exercising regularly. To learn more about how to build a strong spine, as well as the best exercises to strengthen your spine, we spoke with Nick Voci PT, DPTphysiotherapist at Manchester Physiotherapy.
First, the risks of having a weak spine
THE the spine is made up of 33 vertebrae separated into different regions: seven cervical vertebrae in the neck, 12 thoracic vertebrae in the upper and middle back, seven lumbar vertebrae in the lower back, five fused vertebrae, which form the sacrum, the part of your spine that connects to your pelvis, and the coccyx (coccyx). Keeping those spinal bones healthy and strong is essential for maintaining posturefunction, mobility and overall health.
“Weakness in the bones of your spine, or vertebrae, can be considerable due to the proximity of important structures such as nerves and their role in providing support for most other muscles and limbs,” says Dr. Voci. “Some of the risks include things such as osteoporosis (a medical condition characterized by weakened and porous bones, increasing the risk of broken bones and broken bones), chronic pain, postural abnormalities like kyphosis (a spinal disorder that causes the upper back to bend abnormally forward, leading to a hunched or rounded appearance), loss of movement, loss of function, and problems with balance.”
Dr. Voci says any of these spinal issues can lead to decreased activity levels and function, which translates to a more sedentary lifestyle and worsened health outcomes.
Common Symptoms of a Weak Spine
Although mild weakness or thinning of the bones in your spine may not be detectable at first, Dr. Voci says your spinal weakness will present with a host of signs and symptoms once it becomes severe enough. “There can be many signs and symptoms associated with weak vertebrae, such as increased fractures, postural abnormalities like kyphosis, loss of height, increased back stiffness, including rib stiffness and difficulty breathing, and increased back pain.”
How to Strengthen Your Spine With Exercise
The good news is that Dr. Voci says exercise can be a powerful and effective tool for strengthening the spine.
“Above all, our body responds to the demands placed on it, so to improve bone density, we want to stress those bones by introducing muscle traction to the bone and adding weight to the bone,” he says. “For this reason, weight-bearing or standing exercises are best because they engage many core muscles, which in turn pull on your bones and make them stronger.” Adding load by using free weights or resistance bands increases the bone-building capabilities of the movements.
Dr. Voci says that there are several different types of exercises that can improve bone density in the spine, and including a combination of several types of them in your fitness routine is the best way to have a healthy spine.
“Walking is great exercise for cardiovascular health (fitness) which also improves bone density due to weight bearing and should be done daily,” says Dr. Voci. “Depending on your health or physical condition, activities such as skipping or running will introduce higher levels of stress which may be more beneficial to spinal health, but may also pose a higher risk to other joints in your body. low impact activities such as walking, swimming or cycling to improve their cardiovascular and general fitness levels before introducing more strenuous activities.
Along with cardio exercises for bone density, Dr. Voci says that weight-bearing exercises are among the best types of exercise to increase bone density because strength training loads muscle and bone. He recommends that everyone incorporate weight-bearing strength training two to three times per week to support a healthy spine.
Best Strength Exercises to Strengthen Your Spine
Dr. Voci introduced us to three of the best strength training exercises to strengthen the spine.
1. Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
“This exercise strengthens the hamstringsthe glutes and lower back muscles, all of which will pull your pelvis and vertebrae directly or through fascia to promote bone growth,” says Dr. Voci. “It’s also a weight-bearing exercise, which stimulates bone growth.” You can perform RDL with free weights like dumbbells, beginners can start with just body weight.
How: Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand at your side. This is your starting position. Hinge at the hips and push your butt back while maintaining a slight bend in your knees, lowering your torso toward the floor until your weights are in line with your shins – don’t arch or round your back. Return to standing, engaging your hamstrings and glutes. He is a representative. Repeat for 8 to 12 reps. (You can also do this with a mini resistance band by placing one side of the loop under your feet and holding the opposite end with both hands.)
2. Folded rows
Dr. Voci says the rows strengthen the rhomboids in the upper back and the small muscles that run along the spine. These muscles pull on your thoracic, cervical, and lumbar vertebrae to promote bone growth.
How: Start standing with your feet under your hips, hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms straight. Maintaining a slight bend in the knees, then hinge the hips, lowering your torso to a 45 degree angle or parallel to the floor. Bend both elbows back and pull the weights down from your rib cage. Re-extend your arms. He is a representative. Repeat for 8 to 12 repetitions.
Squats are a fundamental lower-body strengthening exercise, but since it is a weight-bearing exercise, it also helps strengthen the spine. “This exercise strengthens your hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps, all of which will pull on your pelvis and vertebrae, either directly or through the fascia to promote bone growth,” says Dr. Voci.
How: Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward. Bend over at your hips and push your butt back as if you were sitting in a chair. Keep your weight towards your heels, but balanced between both feet. Bend your knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, making sure your back stays straight (avoid rounding or arching). Make sure your knees are aligned with your toes. Push through your heels to straighten your legs and extend your hips as you return to the starting position. He is a representative. Repeat for 8 to 12 repetitions. (You may choose to hold dumbbells to increase exercise intensity once you have mastered your form.)
How to Get the Most Out of Spinal Strengthening Exercises
Be sure to start with light weights and gradually increase them, advises Dr. Voci. “We want to expose our body to a new level of gradual stress and allow it to adapt,” he says.
Dr. Voci also says that you shouldn’t feel any pain with any of these movements. If so, you should work with a fitness professional or physical therapist for an individualized back-strengthening program or to help you work on form and technique.
“A lot of the ‘best’ exercises are technical exercises that may require some training before getting the best results,” says Dr. Voci. “Consulting a physical therapist can provide you with the best exercises based on your available movement and strength. They are better trained to modify and adapt these exercises to minimize the risk of injury and to accommodate specific needs.
But if you don’t feel pain, incorporating these exercises two to three times a week, along with cardio as Dr. Voci described it, can help you strengthen your spine in no time.