Posture refers to how we position our bodies when sitting, standing, or laying down. Your overall health relies on good posture. It keeps your bones aligned with the rest of your body, and the tension in your muscles, ligaments, and tendons adequately spread. It even improves your blood flow.
Maintaining a good posture means that you hold your body in the best position possible to place minimal stress on your back and spine. Since our spines begin to change as we age, good posture becomes even more critical for older adults. Have you ever heard that as we age, we get shorter? Well, this is, in fact, true. The cushions between our bones start to break down and thin over time, plus the cartilage and tissues connecting our spines lose their elasticity and are not as thick. But, having good posture can help with this.
Falling is the number one reason for broken bones and injuries among older adults. The high number of falls means that learning how to be more aware of good posture is needed to improve balance and decrease falling chances. Good posture is also an osteoporosis preventative. It lowers heart attack and stroke risk, makes you feel happier, helps sustain memory recall, and helps with digestive issues.
Below are the ten tips we highly recommend for older adults to improve their posture.
1. Stretch Daily
We always see athletes stretching before their events, but this is just as important for older adults. Stretching your muscles will improve your overall flexibility and manage any pain that could be impacting your posture. You can do this with yoga and pilates.
More content about stretching:
2. Get Moving
The older we get, the more essential movement becomes. If you get up and move around throughout the day, it can help. Moving around could mean going for a slow walk up to a fast run. The critical piece here is you are moving to stretch/strengthen your muscles to keep them limber for good posture.
3. Perform Back Exercises
Especially for women after menopause, the muscles around the spine begin to weaken. You will want to target your back extensors, neck flexors, pelvic muscles, and side muscles. Establishing endurance in the spine and trunk muscle groups will help you stand for long periods with good posture and no discomfort.
4. Work on Your Core Muscles
Your core muscles are in your abdomen and pelvic area. It's these muscles that are the foundation to a good posture. There are many pilates and yoga classes in communities for older adults to strengthen these muscles.
5. Sit Up Straight
Whether sitting at a desk, a table, or relaxing on a sofa, it is necessary to sit up straight to maintain good posture. You want the focus to be on sitting up tall with your shoulders dropped down. Once you make this a habit, you will no longer even have to think about it.
6. Stand Up Straight
Just like with sitting, it is necessary to focus on your posture while standing. You can do this by standing tall, keeping your shoulders back, stomach pulled in, weight primarily on the balls of your feet, a level head, and feet about shoulder-width apart.
7. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eating healthy is always a good choice. When it comes to good posture, it is the calcium that we need for our bones to keep them strong. We need to get this from calcium-rich foods. It is a healthy weight we need to minimize stress on our body.
8. Get plenty of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for your bone health and muscle maintenance. Vitamin D is also necessary because it helps your body absorb calcium - all working together for better posture.
9. Lift Weights
Even if you have to get creative with household items for weights, lifting weights improves your muscle strength. As you strengthen your muscles, the muscle fibers pull harder on the bones pushing cells into action. Those actions strengthen the bones and can increase density.
10. Wear a Correction Brace
For some, movement may be very limited or posture so severe, a brace is needed. These braces force you to hold your body in the correct position until it "trains" you to have a good posture on your own.
Let us know in the comments below - how do you maintain proper posture?