The Power of Proper Posture for Seniors
As people enter their 50s and 60s, it’s common for them to begin to notice that they are “shrinking”; that they’ve lost up to an inch in their overall height. This is because of the way our spines begin to change as we age. The vertebrae and discs that act as a cushion between the bones begin to lose their form, breaking down and thinning over time. Plus, the cartilage and connective tissues in the spine also start to lose elasticity and thickness.
This may sound bleak, but there are steps we can take to ensure we maintain proper posture as we age. Proper posture is so important for seniors in numerous ways, including:
- Maintaining balance. Seniors who are mindful of proper posture have better balance, which reduces their risk for a debilitating fall.
- Improving digestion and blood flow. When you slouch, your internal organs compress which can decrease their functionality. Sitting up straight keeps your blood flowing and aids in digestion.
- Preventing osteoporosis. Poor posture also makes your back muscles and ligaments work harder to help maintain your balance. Over time, these pulled muscles will lead to degeneration in the spine and serious conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
- Lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack. When you blood isn’t flowing properly, seniors can develop hypertension which puts them at greater risk for stroke, heart attack, and even diabetes and obesity.
- Eliminating depression and enhancing mood. Studies have shown that seniors who sit and stand upright are more confident and their energy levels are boosted. Proper posture improves circulation, and as your body is oxygenated as it should, your mood and perception improve.
- Developing better cognitive function. While it is not scientifically proven that proper posture can slow down the onset of dementia, research shows that seniors maintaining good posture have better memory recall. A properly aligned spine can aid in communication between neurotransmitters to the brain.
How to Correct Posture through Posture Exercises for Seniors
Seniors can start to improve their posture in a variety of ways. Some popular posture exercises include yoga and Pilates; any type of exercise that can strengthen your core. These types of exercises help you maintain flexibility, strengthen your muscles and can improve your overall athleticism.
It’s also important to incorporate exercises that target your back extensors, neck flexors, side muscles and pelvic muscles. Talk to a trainer about what machines are available at the gym to target these muscles. Weight-bearing exercises like walking or climbing stairs can also help reduce the breakdown in your vertebrae.
Try not to be sedentary for long periods of time. It’s important to get up and move around, stretching those muscles to stay limber.
A Philosophy of Wellness at Galloway Ridge
At the Duke Center for Living at Galloway Ridge, you’ll find personal trainers who are ready to help you develop proper posture through a variety of exercises classes. Our state-of-the-art onsite facility is open to all residents and is a core part of our philosophy of wellness for the mind, body and spirit.
Find out more about the Healthy Horizons program offered at Galloway Ridge by clicking here.