How To Maintain Great Posture As You Age

October 1, 2012 By


Your posture reflects your level of confidence and the condition of your health to the individuals around you. Good posture demonstrates confidence, vitality, and overall well-being. As we age, our posture tends to deteriorate, resulting in drooped shoulders and a rounded back. However, it is possible to prevent bad posture (and possibly improve it) as one grows older. A neutral spine is the foundation of good posture. It means the spine is not rounded forward or arched back too much. A sedentary lifestyle associated with too much time sitting in front of a computer in addition to certain diseases like osteoporosis can cause you to develop a rounded spine that can result in poor posture. A healthy diet combined with regular physical activity is essential for healthy bones and normal alignment of the spine. Osteoporosis prevention requires an adequate supply of key vitamins and minerals. Calcium is an essential mineral that is best absorbed from food sources. Dairy products, green vegetables, and nuts are excellent food sources of calcium. Most healthy individuals can get enough calcium from diet alone, but elderly individuals may need a calcium supplement. Talk to your doctor about whether a calcium supplement would be beneficial for you. In order to absorb calcium, the body needs Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body to utilize the calcium from food sources. The best way to increase vitamin D product is to spend time outdoors and enjoy sunlight, or get a sunlight inducing lamp if you spend most of your day indoors. Living in a climate controlled, indoor environment can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency in otherwise healthy individuals. Have your Vitamin D levels checked and ask your doctor about the best way to maintain proper levels of Vitamin D as you grow older.


Exercise for Better Posture

Modern lifestyle has forced us to become more dependent on machines and technology than we have ever been. As a direct result, we are more sedentary than we should be. Spending hours on a computer or hunched over a desk is bad for your posture. This can lead to a myriad of problems including neck pain, shoulder pain and low back pain. Improving posture is not as difficult as you might think. For starters, try to sit up tall and straight at your desk at all times. It may seem challenging at first, but with time and practice it will become more natural. Take frequent breaks to get up and move; walk around and stretch to keep from sitting in the same position for more than an hour at a time. The shoulders can become rounded from leaning forward, so take the time to open up and stretch them back every once in a while, trying to pinch your shoulder blades in together. Your physical therapist will teach you exercises to stretch and strengthen your abdominal muscles, and breathing exercises to engage your diaphragm muscles and utilize your full lung capacity. Your bones and muscles work together to maintain optimum posture. Weight-bearing exercises are excellent for muscles as well as bones. Individuals who walk regularly have greater bone density than those who are sedentary. Resistance training can also keep your spine strong and help prevent osteoporosis. Strengthening your core muscles will make it easier for you to stand in an upright position for long periods of time without discomfort. Besides, you’ll inspire more confidence in individuals with better posture and you’ll feel better!

Unlocking The New You

If you have chronic back, neck, or joint pain, you may benefit from physical therapy. Your physical therapist will evaluate the overall alignment of your body, from the head to toes. The presence of any variations from the ideal postural alignment can help your therapist determine regions that may be weak or tight. Your therapist will work with you to develop customized techniques to improve your posture. Some of these techniques may include massage, manual therapy, gentle stretches, core strengthening exercises and advanced techniques to re-train your body and muscles in simple patterns of movement. Your body will ‘relearn’ what it was always meant to do. Ask yourself – what does your posture project to the world? Improving your posture will help you look and feel great. This will help your personal, emotional and physical health. It’s time to call us and ask us exactly what we can do to help you improve your posture and be the best you can be. Improving your posture is important, and there is no better person in the world than your physical therapist to help you with this. We look forward to serving you.

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This post was written by Andrew Clary MS MPT ATC