As we age, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain good posture. Years of hard work and play take a toll on our bodies leading to various health concerns and impacting our ability to live independently.
"Posture is not only about how well you sit, but how well you move and go about your daily life," says Dr. George Salem, a researcher at the University of Southern California.
Decreased Flexibility and Balance
The National Institute on Health (NIH) says that poor posture decreases flexibility and balance. It also increases a person's risk for falls, which is a leading reason for emergency room visits and long-term health care in older adults. Slumped posture can even make it more difficult to digest the food you eat and breathe comfortably.
Stretching and flexibility exercises can give you more freedom of movement as you get older. Independence and comfort levels decrease as you age if you don't strengthen your body. Stretching and simple exercises will also help reduce falls in older adults.
Health and Bodies Changes with Age
Our bodies change as we get older. With age, we all experience changes in our bodies, making it vital for older adults to maintain good posture, strength, flexibility, and balance. No matter if you are 40, 50, or even 70, it's not too late to work on yourself, no matter what stage you are in life. Here are some beneficial stretches to improve posture.
If you spend lots of time sitting in front of a screen, you'll likely suffer from a dowager's hump. This lump forms on the base of your neck when you spend too much time hunched over. One way to help correct this problem is with chin tucks.
Start by sitting up straight. Pull your chin back as far as you can and hold the position. Then, gently jut your head forward. Repeat these steps 8 to 10 times a few days a week. You can perform this exercise standing or sitting, and it should help alleviate neck and shoulder pain.
This next stretch to improve posture may look intimidating, especially for seniors, but it's easy to work up to. Bird dogs help elongate your spine, and they enhance mobility in your arms and legs. They also assist in building core strength, which is essential to your overall health.
Start on the floor on your hands and knees. Look straight ahead while lifting your right leg behind you. Also, lift and extend your left arm in front of you and hold for a few seconds. Complete several repetitions while switching between opposite limbs. Remember to keep your abdominals engaged and your back as straight as possible.
The best part about these stretches is that you don't need any special tools or equipment to accomplish them safely. Wall stretches are no different since you only need an empty wall and space to move around in. It's best to perform this exercise standing. But if you can't, sitting up straight will also work.
Find a wall and stand with your back against it. Bring your arms above your head slowly, keeping them as close to the wall as possible. Raise your arms as far as you comfortably can, and hold for several moments. Then, bring them gently back down to your sides. Repeat the process a few times for some back and shoulder relief.
Taking the time to improve strength and flexibility will also help with any posture problems. Another good stretch for accomplishing this is the hip tilt. Hip tilts are especially useful for people who experience sciatic and general lower back pain.
Stand with your back braced against a wall. Take your hand and place it on your lower back. Carefully tuck your pelvis while squeezing your abdominals. You should feel your hand touch the wall when your hips are flush with the surface. Ensure that your head and shoulders stay flat on the wall to get the full effects of this exercise.
Slacking on your posture is easy, but it's never too late to better your situation. These stretches will make a dramatic difference in your daily movement and comfort levels if you want to carry yourself a bit straighter.
The NIH says it is vital to see your doctor and find the types of physical activity that can help you maintain your health and mobility. Be sure to talk to your health care providers if you feel pain or discomfort when n doing these simple stretching exercises.
About the Author
Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.
Contributor since September 25th, 2020
Older adults will benefit from aerobic exercise, strength or resistance training, flexibility, or stretching exercises. These activities keep your body moving, and one of the secrets to staying healthy is to stay in motion.
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