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Everyone has heard the phrase “Stand Up Straight! Don’t Slouch!” Behind those long forgotten words lies a very valuable and surprisingly simple message: Good posture is important because it helps your body function at top speed. It promotes movement efficiency and endurance and contributes to an overall feeling of well-being.

Our bodies change as we age. If you have poor posture, your bones are not properly aligned, and your muscles, joint and ligaments take more strain than nature intended. These natural changes make it especially important for older adults to maintain good posture, strength, flexibility and balance. Good posture can decrease your risk of falls!

Poor Posture Can Cause:

  • Headaches & Fatigue
  • Back, Neck & Shoulder Pain
  • Breathing Problems

Tips for Maintaining Good Posture:

  1. Avoid staying in one position for long periods of time; inactivity causes muscle tension and weakness.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight; excess weight exerts a constant forward pull on the back muscles and weakens the abdomen.
  3. Sleep on a firm mattress and use a pillow under your head just big enough to maintain the normal cervical-neck-curve.
  4. Wear comfortable and well-supported shoes. Avoid high heeled or platform shoes, which distort the normal shape of the foot and throw the back’s natural curves out of alignment.
  5. Walk with good posture; keep head erect with chin parallel to the ground, allow arms to swing naturally, and keep feet pointed in the direction you are going.

For more exercise and posture tips, talk with your doctor about physical and occupational therapy. Therapy can help correct your bad posture and help alleviate chronic pain. No matter what age you are, every BODY will feel the benefits of better posture.

The way you hold your body is posture and the way you move your body is body mechanics. There are correct ways to hold your body when you stand, walk, sit, lift and even sleep. Proper posture allows us to move in the way we want, causing our bodies the least amount of strain and damage. Adapting proper posture is an essential part to maintaining a healthy skeletal structure as you age.

  • REDUCE PAIN – Poor posture puts extra pressure on your discs and vertebrae and leads to injury and pain.
  • BREATHE EASIER – Good posture allows more space for your lungs to expand.
  • INCREASE ENERGY – When muscles are being used more efficiently it allows your body to use less energy.
  • IMPROVE BALANCE – Posture is part of balance. With age, your body tends to lean forward which makes you unstable and increases your risk for falling.

 

Improve Your Posture with Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can help correct and improve your posture by designing an individualized program of exercises and activities with an emphasis on strength, flexibility, and proper gait. Your balance may be improved with exercises that strengthen the core, back, ankle, knee, and hip muscles along with exercises that improve the function of the balance system. Exercises that are focused on improving posture will stretch tight muscles and keep joints strong. If you have concerns about your posture, call your doctor and ask if physical therapy can help.