Good posture demonstrates confidence, vitality, and overall well-being. As we age, our posture tends to deteriorate, resulting in drooping shoulders and a rounded back. Our modern lifestyles are also a big contributor to bad posture. However, it is possible to prevent bad posture (and possibly improve it) as you grow 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 sitting in addition to certain diseases like osteoporosis can cause you to develop a rounded spine that can result in poor posture.
Watch your diet
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.
The body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium from food. The best way to get vitamin D is to spend time outdoors and enjoy the sunlight. Living in a climate-controlled, indoor environment can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency in otherwise healthy individuals.
Exercise for better posture
Modern lifestyle has forced us to become dependent on machines and technology. As a direct result, we are more sedentary than we should be. Spending hours at 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 physiotherapist can teach you exercises to stretch and strengthen your abdominal muscles, and breathing exercises to engage your diaphragm muscles and utilise 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. People 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 without discomfort. Talk with us for an assessment.
Unlocking the new you
If you have chronic back, neck, or joint pain, you may benefit from physiotherapy. We will evaluate the overall alignment of your body, from the head to toes. The presence of any variations from the ideal postural alignment can point out regions that may be weak or tight. We will then work with you to develop customised techniques and exercises to improve your posture. You may also need massage, manual therapy, gentle stretches, core strengthening exercises and advanced techniques to re-train your body and muscles in simple patterns of movement.
Ask yourself – what does your posture say? An improved your posture will help your personal, emotional and physical health as well as look great. There is no better person in the world than your physiotherapist to help you with this. Call us today.