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Is your upper back healthy?

By Shameem Akhtar
Last updated on: July 03, 2015 18:31 IST
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Shruti Haasan

Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

It is common knowledge that overall flexibility is a marker of youthfulness.

There are two types of aging. One is chronological, which means you state your age by your birth certificate, marking it from the day you were born.

This is now an outdated way of looking at health. The new way to look at your age is through biological aging -- this means your insides have a different aging from what your birth certificate says.

This is measured through various markers measured from your overall fitness levels. Overall flexibility, like the ability to balance, can indicate that a 50-year-old can be younger than a 20-year old!

Flexibility is usually seen as spinal flexibility, especially of the lower back, but upper back flexibility is equally important, including for your heart and respiratory health.

Our lifestyle is increasingly stressing the upper back. This could come from being seated too long or from use of gadgets that require you to stress the upper back more.

Here are some benefits of having a flexible upper back that may surprise you:

  • Helps prevent injuries in this region, including at shoulders, neck and arms.
  • Involved with cardiac health
  • Improves breathing capacity because the upper back muscles are intimately linked to breathing
  • Improves voice and helps throw it better
  • Improves mood and confidence levels because posture is related to it
  • Helps relieve the build-up of stress in this part. The upper back can be the most strained during stress

Shameem Akthar, yogacharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, takes you through five questions that will bring you closer to appreciating the role of your upper back in health.

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Shameem Akhtar