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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Approaching 30?...Hydrate your Spine!

Are you approaching 30 and all of a sudden starting to feel stiff and achy?

Well, there's a valid reason for that. According to Judith Hanson Lasater PhD., PT, after 30 years of life your spine stops receiving a direct supply of blood, the disc dries out, and creates problems in your body.

In her book Yoga Body, Lasater says, "The nucleus pulposus [substance that is the weight bearing axis for all spinal movement] has no direct blood supply after the third decade of life. Yet it is made up of 80% water. So what keeps the disc plump and full of water?"

Yikes. Sounds scary, but don't give up hope just yet. There's an answer, and thankfully it doesn't involve popping pills or invasive surgery.

So... What does keep the disc plump and full of water? (Drum roll please...)


"Movement is what causes the disc to take up fluids. By bending forward, bending backward, and twisting, pressure on one side of the disc causes the other side of the disc to take up fluids passively, which helps them stay plump and healthy."


Here's a simple warm up/cool down stretch that moves the spine in all possible ranges of motion. For best results match the movement with the breath.
This can be done from pre-teens to age 100, so there are no excuses!

How to Hydrate your Spine:

Stand up with your feet touching, arms by your sides, shoulders rolled back and down
-Inhale, your arms out to the side and up overhead
-Exhale, interlace your fingers, face the palms up to the ceiling
-Inhale, side bend to the right
-Exhale, back to center
-Inhale, side bend to the left
-Exhale, back to center, arms down by your side
-Inhale, interlace fingers behind your back, lift sternum up to ceiling
-Exhale, fold forward over your legs, release your hands to the ground
-Inhale, reach right arm up to the ceiling, allowing your gaze to follow the right hand creating a small spinal twist
-Exhale, release the right arm, fold forward over legs
-Inhale, left arm up to ceiling, twisting to left
-Exhale, fold forward over legs
-Inhale, roll up to neutral standing position

Repeat 3-4 times for a happy, healthy, hydrated spine at any age!