Your spine is a wonderful piece of engineering. It consists of 26 interconnected bones called vertebrae that begin below the base of the skull at your occiput and end with your sacrum, a triangular bone that forms the center of your pelvis. These bones articulate individually and enable your torso to bend forward and backward, as well as rotating side to side and side-bending. Optimal spinal health means that all of these vertebrae are able to move freely without restrictions. This column serves as a major weightbearing structure so overuse or misuse of the muscles that surround and attach to the spine can create a range of discomfort.
Like most things in life, if you don’t move it you lose it. As we age we tend to slow our roll and consequently, our spines don’t receive the benefit of movement to keep things loose. It is vital to keep the spine healthy if you want to move freely and easily through life. How can we do this? By simply doing the twist!
This gentle stretch is an easy way to keep your spine mobile. Simply lay down, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor or bed, then let both your knees drop to one side, then the other side. For more of a stretch, lay on one side with your top leg bent at 90 degrees, bottom leg straight. With your bottom hand, hold that knee in place and extend your top arm out to the side, turn your head to look at this arm. This puts your spine into a deeper twist.
Of course, another easy way to move your spine is to dance! So get up and do the twist!
CAUTION: Always move slowly and to your comfort level. If there’s pain, STOP. Stretching should feel good.