Here's another reason to protect your spine by keeping your core strong: Chronic back pain shrinks your brain. Yikes! A recent study by Northwestern University found that chronic back pain radically speeds up the aging process of the brain. The study found that about 1.3 cubic centimeters (or about a teaspoon for the more kitchen-inclined, myself included) of gray matter is lost annually in people enduring chronic pain, aging the brain prematurely by 10 to 20 years. The atrophy occurs in brain regions that manage the stress of the pain, and this shrinkage can even delay emotional decision making.
So work your abs and your spinal muscles to support your spine. Back extensions on the ball are a great way to strengthen the muscles on either side your spine. Also, never underestimate the power of the elbow plank for strengthening your core.
It is estimated that 25 percent of Americans suffer from back pain. Are you part of the 25 percent? Tell me in the comments section below.