I never get tired of trying to figure out the mysteries of the body. The body is a machine and it has moving parts and pieces which are designed to work together harmoniously.

There are many facets of how a body is developed. Of course we have genetics that determine height and style of a body. Then we have lifestyle, which contributes to  the flexibility and  muscle/ fat ratio of a person. Plus we have to add in the type of  nutrition during development of bone and muscle mass.

I have worked with a whole spectrum of people. From young families to the elderly and in between . This has allowed me to watch the aging of a body up close. I remember wondering at what point did women start to get low back pain. What I have noticed is this. If they had made it through pregnancy and the early years of their child rearing without much incidence of back pain it would generally creep up on them a year or so after they had ceased to carry their child everywhere.

While a child is very young, Mom’s tend to carry them. If they were walking they would get tired so Mom would and bend down and pick them up several times a day. This kept their back and their latissimus dorsi muscles strong. When they stop carrying their children so much overtime the latissimus dorsi weakened.

Many of the same activities that keep the back strong together with the latissimus dorsi tend to get weaker when those activities are lessened. The back muscles get weak around the spine and the latissimus dorsi, which work all the way up into the armpits lose their strength.

In addition to making the spine more vulnerable to injury when those muscles get thinner and weaker the lack of movement can also set you up for shoulder problems. . When those muscles in the upper shoulder overtake the job of the lats the shoulder is not in correct alignment and is more likely to be torn or aggravated. This  is why the Rotator muscle problems usually show up around the same age as the back muscle problems do. Simple exercises with dumbbells can keep the latissimus dorsi strong and give exponential return of investment in time.

Stretching exercises and gentle movement like Qi Gong are really helpful for  keeping your upper body supple. I will sometimes post links on this blog of my favorite Qi gong routines to introduce you to movement you may want to try to help maintain your postural health. Give one a try.

Na Maste

Valentina Boonstra