Posture is something many only consider much later on in life, and often, it’s considered so late that the effects of years of poor sitting and standing positions are permanent. Perhaps it’s because the effects are only felt much later on in our lives that we ignore the ways in which poor posture could be affecting us now. If you’re determined to rectify the signs of a crooked back, or want to ensure you avoid it at all costs, here are a few simple ways to get you on track.
The benefits of good posture regularly go unnoticed, and in fact, we take for granted the many things that it can do for us. According to Physio Works, a good posture, no matter if you’re sitting or standing provides the following benefits:
- Prevents muscle fatigue
- Aligns your joints and bones for efficient muscle activity
- Reduces joint stress
- Avoids stress on ligaments
- Prevents backache, neck ache and muscle pain
- Enhances confidence
So now that we’re aware of the benefits, how do we improve our posture without having to make an appointment with the physiotherapist?
If mobility is not an issue, swimming is a low-impact form of exercise that helps seniors strengthen your core, and in turn staves off the spinal curve (hyperkyphosis) associated with poor posture. Aside from not putting any strain on joints and bones, swimming is known to improve flexibility and muscle strength, perfect for setting up your core to support your back and spine efficiently. Whether it’s doing a few lengths in your own swimming pool, or signing up to a water aerobics class, you can improve your posture without putting strain on your body.
Balance is essential to core strength and vice versa. When your balance is poor, it can be a sign of a weak core, which is inevitably detrimental to your spine. Simple exercises can improve your balance, and strengthen your muscles used to keep your spine in its correct form. Simply standing on one foot for 20 to 30 seconds, walking along a straight line or standing on your tiptoes can build up your balance. Remember, if you make use of aged care support services and your balance isn’t what it used to be, stand next to a railing or wall during these exercises if you need extra support.
Sometimes improving your posture doesn’t necessarily mean physically exercising. Putting yourself into a position that helps align the different parts of your body and relax your muscles can be just as beneficial. The exercise known as static back — where you lie on your back with your legs resting on a chair or ottoman at a 90° angle for five to ten minutes — places the shoulders and hips in alignment, while allowing all of your muscles to rest. This is particularly useful for your lower back that can get tight due to bad posture.
Strengthening the muscles in the upper back is just as important as strengthening and releasing tension in the lower back. Your upper back muscles are used to hold you up straight, and if they’re weak, your posture is likely to suffer. The sitting floor exercise both mitigates the weakening of the shins and thighs, and increases the strength of the upper back due to sitting for long periods of time. The exercise requires you to sit against a wall, with your back up straight and legs extended in front of you. For one to three minutes you pull your shoulder blades together (remember not to pull the shoulders up), tighten your thighs and flex your feet.
If you feel your posture requires professional attention, then visiting a registered practitioner is advised. However, if your posture is not yet causing you immense pain or discomfort, keep these simple tips in mind to improve or prevent your back from slipping into the incorrect positions. Remember, while they may be simple, they require consistency to ensure results.