Samba balances his energy with two daily walks.
He keeps fit and socialized by running and playing in the park
three times a week.
Lifestyle Find Yours.
Samba in front, followed by his friend Batucada.
As we get older, we can lose inches off our height, but why? And what can be done about it?
Why do we shrink as we age?
It is a strange fact of life that although our noses keep growing as we age, we also start shrinking.
The older we get, the shorter most of us become. In fact it is estimated that during every decade after the age of 40, people generally lose ¼ - ½ an inch, an amount that increases every decade.
Unfortunately, women tend to also lose more height than men, and are more prone to bone conditions like osteoporosis.
The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging discovered that women lost, on average, 2 inches between the ages of 30 and 70, and over 3 inches by the age of 80, while men lost just over an inch by the time they turned 70, and 2 inches by the time they hit the big 8-0.
We produce less of the hormones that help us to repair or replace cells [as we age]. This means our bones become weaker. Our vertebrae – the bones that help keep us upright – get compressed and rubbed all the time, so we might lose some of the actual bone. Our muscles and ligaments also get weaker, which adds to the effect.
The pressure on our spine to stay upright, even as the muscles around it become less effective, means discs between vertebrae can become flattened and the spaces between our joints becomes smaller.
It’s also the case that the arches in our feet flatten too, leading to further height loss.
Four ways to prevent shrinking:
Although shrinkage cannot be avoided completely, it is possible to slow the process and give your spinal column the best chance of being stronger and straighter for longer.
1. Top up your calcium levels
If you’re over 50 the National Institute of Health recommends that you get 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day to keep your bones healthy and strong. Make sure you’re getting that by drinking milk, eating a wide variety of fruit and veg, and taking additional vitamin supplements if necessary.
2. Work out
Certain studies have found that people who exercise regularly during their younger years tend to lose half as much height as people who didn’t.
However, it’s never too late to build muscle and strengthen your bones. Running, jumping and doing weights can all really make a difference.
3. Avoid bad habits
Alcohol can inhibit your body from making the most of its calcium supplies, while smoking is bad for your overall health and can be particularly damaging to your bones. Cut down, or just stop if you can.
4. Think posture
Fixing your posture so you are not crumpling or straining you spine can also help you boost your height, and it will train your muscles to be long and strong in the process.