The later years of our lives are often referred to as “the golden years.” We call them golden because, they’re usually filled with the fine fruits of our labor – retirement, grandchildren, vacations, and relaxation.
However, those years are also filled with drastic changes to the body. In fact, one of the most commonly experienced side effects of old age is shrinking.
Those movies and TV shows that portray hunched over elderly folk are telling the truth. For instance, you will get shorter as life goes by. Unfortunately, some of what causes you to shrink is a part of the natural aging process.
On the bright side. For instance, physicians, chiropractors and nutritionists have gotten together to discover ways people can slow or reverse some of the causes of an age-related height decrease.
What Causes Men Over 40 to Shrink?
Once tall-standing and confident, shrinking can make a person look and feel self-conscious. In addition, rapid or substantial shrinkage may damage the body, cause injury, or make everyday living more difficult. Understanding why we shrink can help.
Luckily, some of the causes of shrinkage are manageable, if not completely preventable. Even the causes that are related to a person’s age, such as a man’s posture can refer to many things. However, people lose height for a variety of reasons including:
- Insufficient diet
- Poor posture
- Low activity level
Chiropractors have determined that regardless of the patient’s dietary habits, posture, activity level, physical health or age. The underlying cause of shrinkage however, is usually one or more of the following:
- Spinal fluids are lost.
- Spaces between vertebrates are flattened.
- Arches in feet decrease.
- Loss of Muscle Mass.
- Poor posture and/or slouching is habitual.
Noticeably losing height may be a sign that you need to begin taking better care of your body, especially if you’re mature in age. To do so, it’s important to learn about the most effective anti-shrinkage techniques.
3 Ways to Stop Shrinking with Age
According to a New York Times interview with the chief of spinal surgery at New York’s Weill Cornell Medical Center, Dr. Hartl, most people actually fluctuate in height a little bit each day.
His research shows a ¾-inch difference in many subjects, most of whom were of middle age. However, his research also showed that age interferes with the body’s natural ability to regain height once its lost in that daily fluctuation. Therefore, shrinkage of as much as 2 inches is common among those 60 years and older.
While it may seem somewhat hopeless or futile to worry about shrinking if it’s inevitable. The degree at which a man shrinks in height with age depends on a number of factors, including but not always limited to the following:
- genetic make-up
- lifestyle issues
- How weight can lead to shrinkage
- Your beginning height
- Your medical history
Fortunately, there are at least three things you can do to prevent, slow or reverse the signs of aging (as they pertain to your height, of course).
The following tips and tricks probably won’t help you with those fine lines and wrinkles, but they will help you stop shrinking as rapidly as you get older.
Eat a Diet That is Rich in Bone and Muscle-Supporting Foods.
The old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” So, if you eat plenty of healthy foods then your body will function at an optimal level even as you take on years.
Since younger bodies typically require different nutrients than aging bodies, creating an age-specific meal regimen that supports muscular and skeletal systems is vital.
Although proper eating is essential when we’re young, it’s especially important as we get older. Bones begin to lose density, muscles lose mass, and we lose height in the process. To stop that from happening as dramatically, simply enjoy a muscle and bone-supporting diet that’s rich in calcium, vitamin D, oxalic acid and omega-3 fatty acid.
Some of the foods you might start eating include:
- Leafy green vegetables (spinach, cabbage, kale, etc.)
- Beans (soy, kidney, lima, etc.)
- Bread (made with fortified flour)
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.)
- Fish (salmon, sardines, pilchards, etc.)
- Exercise Regularly to Prevent Injury and Improve Your Posture.
Did you know that experts have discovered a direct link between chronic pain and low activity levels? As it turns out, the less you move the worse your health gets. With poor health comes poor posture, which in turn creates the potential for injury and dreaded shrinkage. Not only does regular physical activity release mood-boosting endorphins into your bloodstream but it may also help preserve some of your height.
It works like this: exercising strengthens the muscles that are used primarily to support your head, back and neck. Properly supported heads, backs and necks maintain better posture for longer, preventing habitual slouching and eventual shrinkage. Here
is an easy workout video to help get you started.
Get Frequent Chiropractic Adjustments.
Believe it or not, most 30-year-olds are already shrinking. While it may not be noticeable at first, those small decreases in height can add up over time.
Many chiropractic professionals warn patients about the importance of getting regular adjustments to prevent age-related shrinkage. However, few listen until it’s too late.
The minor degrees of shrinking we all experience are caused by more than bad genes, bad diets, and bad posture. As mentioned, shrinking is typically the result of spinal fluid loss and vertebrate compression.
Regular chiropractic adjustments can keep your spine healthy, aligned and decompressed, slowing or preventing height loss regardless of its cause.
The Final Verdict
Yes, whether we like it or not, we are all going to get shorter as we get older, even if only slightly. Many of us even fluctuate in height each day.
However, some may permanently lose height, to a degree that varies on several factors. Fortunately, those who follow a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise and make regular appointments with their chiropractor stand a realistic chance against age-related shrinking and all the things that come with it.
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. is loving husband, family man and graduate of the University of Nevada and of Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Oregon.
As the proud founder of Better Health Chiropractic in Juneau, Dr. Wells is highly respected in his field and is now known as one of the premier chiropractors in Alaska. He specializes in rehabilitative therapies which include acupressure, chiropractic massage, adjustments and natural pain relief at his multi-disciplinary clinic.
When the good doctor is not working he stays busy by furthering his education, participating in community-centered activities or playing his blues/rock guitar with his family.