Adaptable curves — keeping your spine young as you age. I’m actually not talking about the curves that most of us are concerned with. It’s true that we have a preoccupation with the curves of the body’s physique. But the adaptable curves I’m talking about are the ones in your spine. Joseph Pilates said: “If your spine is inflexible and stiff at 30, you’re old. If it is flexible at 60, you’re young. A man is as young as his spine.”
As little babies, we humans spend time in utero with a single C-shaped curve in our backs. Once out of the womb, the development of the primary curves takes shape so that once we’re upright and walking, the spine can handle the forces of gravity. In case you’re unfamiliar, here’s a quick trip down the curvy-spine-road; the spinal column is comprised of 33 vertebrae and identifiable in these five segments:
Thoracic Spine of the upper back. (12 vertebrae, to which the ribs attach)
Lumbar Spine of the lower back. (5 vertebrae)
Sacral (5 fused vertebrae, collectively called the sacrum, part of the pelvis)
Coccygeal (4 vertebrae, coccyx/tailbone)
(If a head were attached to the spine pictured here, it would be facing left.)
These curves, along with the intervertebral discs create the buoyant, sturdy, dynamic structure of our center. Although we refer to the spine as our “back” – it’s almost more appropriate to refer to it as central, since it literally houses the primary conduit of the central nervous system – the spinal cord. The spine is literally the protector of the mind-body connection.
Spinal health and flexibility = Longevity. Joseph Pilates was in pursuit of this objective for all to achieve a healthy life well into mature years.
Like any joint of the body – your shoulder or hip for instance, the vertebral joints require mobility in order to maintain a level of flexibility. So to keep your spine young! Move your spine daily in all the directions and motions it was designed to do: flex forward, extend backwards, reach sideways (like Side-to-Side from the standing arm series), as well as rotate. Take just 2-5 minutes to do this variety of movement a few times a day.
Pilates is a practice intended to keep the spine healthy – to maintain clear communication between our minds and our bodies, and moving us along the path of a vibrant and graceful life.
We look forward to seeing you in the studio!