Ever since you were a child, people around you probably mentioned that you should maintain a proper posture. That good posture becomes especially important when you reach those Golden Years.
But did you ever wonder why it is necessary to have a proper posture?
A good posture means that there are fewer chances of falling, which is one of the most common reasons for injury in senior citizens.
Osteoporosis becomes less likely, with a decreased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Not to mention, you feel more motivated, and confident when you're just walking around. Cognitive functioning is boosted with a stable blood flow and healthy digestion.
These are just some of the benefits that come with having good posture. But even if you struggle with an upright posture, the truth is that you can still develop one with the right exercises.
The Importance of Good Posture for Seniors
Earlier, we shed some light on the advantages of good posture, but its worth discussing those benefits in some detail now.
A Balanced Posture Leads to Lesser Chances of Breaking Bones
Senior citizens with bad posture can often lose their balance and fall, with related injuries being considered a major public safety issue.
Luckily, this situation can be avoided by maintaining a good posture that will help you stay balanced and reduce the risk of possible falls.
Osteoporosis becomes preventable
A poor posture puts more pressure on your ligaments and hind muscles. With time, these overworked muscles can develop into osteoarthritis and osteoporosis in the spine. This is easily preventable through exercising and working on your posture.
Reduced Risk of Cardiac Attack and Strokes
The risk of developing hypertension increases in the elderly when their blood fails to circulate throughout their bodies. What happens then? The irregular blood flow also puts them at risk of cardiac attack and strokes, especially with conditions like diabetes and obesity.
Regular posture exercises can indefinitely reduce the chances of heart attacks and strokes.
The Common Posture-related Issues in Seniors
American Chiropractic Associationhas conducted a study that shows that over 31 million Americans suffer from poor posture at any one time.
You unconsciously slouch when sitting. This adversely affects your posture by making your upper back more stiff, along with your lower back, neck, and shoulder muscles. You should immediately consult a doctor about your back ache before it becomes more serious.
Poor Blood Circulation
In your professional routine, you spend most of your day sitting on a chair. When you don't move as often, this can negatively affect your posture.
Alignment of Spine Goes Offbeat
A bad posture affects the alignment of your spinal cord. Try to pay attention to you daily physical activities. Are you careless when picking up something heavy? If not, then it's obvious that you might end up with spinal misalignment or muscle spasms.
Assessing Posture in Seniors
Are you thinking of assessing posture in seniors? Let us tell you how to go about it.
How do you assess your posture?
You can assess your posture through posterior, anterior, and lateral views.
When to seek professional assessment?
A professional assessment will be due when you observe issues in your posterior, lateral, and anterior views.
Posture Exercises for Seniors - Daily Routine
Let’s move on to a few exercises that can improve your posture.
The seated cat-cow pose is one of many chair yoga poses, and is beneficial for senior citizens since it focuses on the hip flexors, upper back muscles, and lower back muscles. You have to sit on a chair and slowly flex the spine forward and then back, gently.
Step 1: Get yourself a sturdy chair, and sit in the center of the chair with your feet flat on the ground.
Step 2: Place your hands on your thighs.
Step 3: Begin to inhale and arch your back, lifting your chin and pushing out your chest. You should be looking straight with your chest out.
Step 4: While pressing your chin towards your chest, push your chest inward and round your back. You should be looking at your laps, with your back pushed out.
Step 5: Repeat, slowly.
Cervical Retraction Exercise
You can do the Cervical Retraction Exercise by sitting or lying on your back.
Step 1: Slowly tuck your chin into your neck, creating a double chin. Remember to keep facing forward as you gently push your chin in.
Step 2: Hold the tucked in position for at least 2 to 3 minutes, and then release you neck to it's natural position. If you find it difficult to tuck your chin in or hold the position, you can use your fingers but be gentle.
Step 3: Repeat on the other side.
Shoulders & Upper Back Stretch
It’s time to relax your shoulders and upper back by stretching.
Step 1: Make sure to stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Then, interlock your fingers and face your palms away from the body, pointing your thumbs down.
Step 2: Breathe in, and straighten your arms while rounding your shoulders.
Step 3: Hold the stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.
Step 4: release and breathe out.
Step 5: Repeat.
Scapular Retraction Exercise
Scapular retractions are exercises in which you pull your shoulder blades together towards the spine. To carry out this exercise, you will need elastic material, like a surgical tube or Thera-Band.
Step 1: To begin the Scapular retraction exercise, fasten the band around a solid object, that reaches your waist, such as a bedpost. At the same time, both hands should hold the end of the band.
Step 2: With your elbows bent at 90 degrees, pull on your band to move your shoulder blades closer to each other.
Step 3: Slowly push your shoulder blades away while keeping your elbows bent, returning to your resting position.
Step 4: Repeat this routine 8 to 12 times.
Core Strengthening for Improved Posture
A good posture can help you stay healthy and perform daily routine tasks as well. Thus, it is important to emphasize the importance of certain exercises to ensure its stability.
Why a strong core is essential for good posture?
A strong core is essential for good posture, since it helps you carry out both professional and domestic activities. A healthy back can help you live a more active life, and can even assist you in maintaining balance.
What are Some Exercises to strengthen the core specifically for seniors?
The best exercises to strengthen the core for seniors are the bridge, planks, opposite arms, and leg raises.
What are some Safety tips when engaging in Core Exercises?
According to Harvard Health Publishing, when engaging in core exercises, you should keep a few safety tips in mind.
First and foremost is warm-up, followed by making good form, feeling no pain, practicing often, starting with stability, etc.
Integrating Posture Exercises into Daily Life
Making posture exercises a part of your daily life turns out to be fruitful for you in all walks of life.
Tips for maintaining good posture throughout the day
Let's go through a few tips to maintain a posture to encounter no hassles throughout the day.
Adopt the correct way of sitting at your workplace that only allows you to move a little. Make a habit of standing in lines for healthier bones, muscles, and joints. Avoid lying on your back with your head bent on a large angle on a pillow. Add some more cushions to prevent undue stress on your neck and shoulders. If you have to lift heavy-duty objects, then ensure you are doing it the right way. Safe driving with your car's seat adjusted for your comfort and safety.
- Creating a sustainable routine
All the above exercises will assist in creating a sustainable routine. Add them to your lifestyle and monitor their progress.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1: How long will it take to see improvements in my posture?
A1: If you are doing all the posture exercises correctly, then it will take approximately 6 to 12 weeks to see the difference.
Q2: Can these exercises reverse a lifetime of bad posture?
A2: Yes, you can reverse a lifetime of bad posture through these exercises; therefore, start doing them without waiting for another second.
Q3: Are there any risks associated with posture exercises for seniors?
A3: If seniors do these posture exercises the way they are instructed to do, then there wouldn't be any risks involved.
Q4: How do I know if I'm doing the exercises correctly?
A4: If you are doing the exercises correctly, then you will feel improvements in your overall posture.
Q5: What if I experience pain during these exercises?
A5: If you experience pain during these exercises, it will be because of overuse or extra tension placed on a tendon or a muscle.